(dot).Zach Theatre, Grand Center Arts, St. Louis

On Golden Pond

Insight Theatre Company

Reviewed by Verna Kerans, Founder, Owner & Editor-in-Chief

I went to see On Golden Pond at Insight Theatre and all I could say was: “What a great show! What a talented cast!” and “What a wonderful director Trish Brown is.”

The last time I saw this group they were in the theatre at Nerinx and now they have a new space at 3224 Locust in a building called .Zack ("dot Zack"). There are a lot of places to eat in this area and a dining room/bar at the theatre.

In the show, Ethel (Susie Wall) is married to Norman played by Joneal Joplin and they come for the summer to a cabin on the lake, aka Golden Pond.

Norman is a quirky guy of ailing health with a rather different sense of humor. Chelsea, his daughter, arrives with her boyfriend Billy (Eric Dean White), and his teenaged son Billy Jr. (Michael Pierce). Chelsea and Norman have a tense relationship and we never really find out why. That has always puzzled me but by the end of the night, they seem to reach out and resolve their differences. Perhaps this indicates that some of their personal relationship needs have been met thus giving them the emotional space to accept and compromise with one another.

Norman begins the relationship uncomfortably by kidding Billy but finally they settle in. Billy Jr. and Norman become great fishing buddies and Billy Jr. stays at the cabin with Norman and Ethel. It becomes clear that Norman has always emotionally needed a grandchild and Billy Jr. fills that need.

One more outstanding member of the cast is Kurt Knoedeseder in the role of the mailman who has a good sense of humor and a hearty laugh. He has always had a crush on Chelsea and is happy to see her again.

The talented cast made this a real pleasure and a joy to watch with lots of little laughs and tugs on your heartstrings. There is a lot to think about in this play and the excellent actors make it great.

I must also remark on the "pond" which is visible out the huge window at the rear of the set: When the lights are down the water shimmers and sparkles. It's beautiful. I have never seen that used in a show -- what a delight! The set is by Matt Stuckel and lighting by Geordy Van Es. Super show. I wish they could extend. Call 314-556-1293.

This is the tenth year for the Insight Theatre Company and the season is dedicated to Judith Ann Dreyer. The next show is Baskerville, October 12 – 29.

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