On Golden Pond 2012
On Golden Pond is a comedy drama about a married couple in the autumn of their years, living what may prove to be one of their last summers in their old family lake-house.
As I walked into the auditorium and noted the elaborate set of an idyllic American lake-house, and the soft chime of birdsong with lilting, slightly melancholic piano music playing over the speakers, I felt I was being foregrounded to watch a piece of escapism, but one that was to be interrupted.
Duly, Norman, the husband, enters, and begins removing dust covers of the furniture, with an absent-mindedness and distractedness that hints at the beginnings of senility. Here is seen the theme of the piece; a preoccupation with a diminishing grip on life, and an increasing move towards death.
The history of Norman’s, and his wife, Ethel’s, lives are promptly recounted as the pair move about the house and discuss their plans for the summer.
What follows as the months unfold is a series of scenes whereby figures from the couple’s lives come and go; the cheery local postman, and their estranged daughter, Chelsea, in tow with her new boyfriend, Bill and his 14-year old son, Billy.
The inclusion of the young boy seems to be the catalyst for a key shift in the way the lives of these five individuals intertwine; Norman is reinvigorated to go fishing, Ethel has a grandson to dote upon, Chelsea has an impetus to heal relations with her father, Bill has a family for his son, and Billy has a new set of grandparents to learn things from.
With strong performances throughout, a grand set, and genuine moments of pathos, as well as high, witty comedy, On Golden Pond will prove an enjoyable, cathartic experience for anyone who can relate to the issue of problems within the family, and to the mysterious passage of time, and what it can bring.
- Sam O'Hara-Childs