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Review: On Golden Pond

PUBLISHED: 11:54 22 January 2010 | UPDATED: 07:39 02 July 2010

Ken Hulme

Ernest Thompson's wonderfully evocative 1979 play On Golden Pond is surely loved by thousands. The Henry Fonda/Katherine Hepburn 1981 film is shown regularly on television and over the years most amateur societies of standing have presented it.

Maddermarket Theatre

Ernest Thompson's wonderfully evocative 1979 play On Golden Pond is surely loved by thousands. The Henry Fonda/Katherine Hepburn 1981 film is shown regularly on television and over the years most amateur societies of standing have presented it.

With such a background a company probably needs to be very confident these days to stage it well and the Maddermarket performs it better than well.

The quietly humorous plot concerning marriage, family ties and the ageing process calls for a strong cast who can bring out the pathos while keeping the action moving in a light-hearted way..

Rob Morris is marvellous as the irascible, doddery, forgetful Norman Thayer, always brief, decidedly curt and totally honest in his views yet with a warm humanity which shows through as his relationship with young Billy develops.

Dot Binns is, as usual, brilliant as Norman's long-suffering but openly loving wife Ethel. A slight nod here or a shuffle across stage there simply emphasises her ability in this type of role.

And special mention should be made of Danny Bate's performance as Billy. He more than holds his own among this vastly experienced team and is clearly a name to be watched.

For 48 years the Thayers have spent the summer living alongside Golden Pond. The love in their long mature marriage shows constantly in this terrific, moving production. It's a wonderful drama superbly presented and it deserves a full house throughout its run.

t On Golden Pond continues at the Maddermarket Theatre until January 30.

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