On Golden Pond

Date 27th October 2016
Society Cuckfield Dramatic Society
Venue Queens Hall
Type of Production Play
Director Harriët Sheldon


Author: Lance Milton

This was my first opportunity to review a production by Cuckfield Dramatic Society [CDS] and what a great way to start, with such a treat!

Harriët Sheldon’s production was bright with a heavy inflection on realism from the outset, complimented by a stage set so tangible that it immediately conveyed us, the audience, to the beautiful Thayer summer lake house lodge on Golden Pond.

Rick Farmer [Norman] and Chrys Tarr [Ethel] set the tone and the standard by which the production developed with deftly delivered natural performances and the perfect light touch required to make the comedy all the more poignant. Paul Ruse was a wonderfully meek but ironic Charlie Martin the mailman and evoked the kind of stereotypical loveable New England simpleton that had us invested in him very quickly, feeling his angst over his unrequited love for Chelsea Thayer-Wayne, who was commandingly and confidently delivered by Sophie Bradshaw. However sadly for Charlie, Chelsea had in tow her boyfriend dentist Billy Ray and his son Billy Ray Junior, meaning he never got the girl. Peter Bowman was relaxed and assured in his delivery of the father and Anton Smith made his stage debut look like a piece of cake with not only a huge amount of buoyancy but also a natural acting gift that belied the year 6 students tender years. All of the American accents were on the whole consistent including a particularly nice regional dialect from Shirley Coates who doubled as prompt and the telephone operator.

Lighting was basic but effective, the sound effects were seamless to the point where they were not evident and the stage management headed by Martin Sheldon was deliberate and efficient.

This is a play, which in my opinion, is not done often enough. It’s a beautiful funny comment on the human condition. We are here for but a short time and we are provided a delightful opportunity to reflect on this, family, relationships and how important it is that we make the most of our brief moment on Golden Pond. Bravo CDS!