Before an appreciative packed house at the Quogue Community Center, the Hampton Theatre Company presented Ernest Thompson’s On Golden Pond. The production was the best of what local theater can be; a combination of great acting with really good material, presented at a Broadway level – all at a very affordable price. There is no doubt that the Hampton Theatre Company always makes their patrons feel cozy when they put on a show. This venue, The Quogue Community Center, has a unique quality and atmosphere that adds some magic to every show.
George Loizides is outstanding as “Norman Thayer, Jr.” He owns every line and seemed like he wasn’t even acting, he actually is “Norman.” Every line was clearly heard along with every nuanced facial expression accented with a grunt or moan.
Equally brilliant was Diana Marbury’s portrayal of “Ethel Thayer.” Her natural graceful flow throughout the show had a very dignified elegant of charm that played off the gruff qualities of Norman, her husband. Brilliant directing by Andrew Botsford moved these two actors about the stage in a very natural fashion. This show didn’t seem staged, it seemed to just happen.
Before I go on about this show I must compliment Sebastian Paczynski (Lighting Design) on the phenomenal lighting effects he created that were perhaps the best I have seen in the last decade covering shows on the East End. The colors of dawn and dusk happening are worthy of some sort of award for an off Broadway effort. The lighting effects of this show are extraordinary.
Paul Bolger, who played the “local Maine mailman,” had some glowing moments especially with his dead-on Maine accent. Jane Cortney brought a wonderful softness and vulnerability to her role as “Chelsea Thayer Wayne.” Kudos for Ms. Cartney.
Wally Marzano-Lesnewich added a zestful energy to his portrayal as “Bill Ray Sr.” I enjoyed his gifted comedic facial expression talents. Ian Hubbard is wonderful as “Billy Ray Jr.” as his boyish looks and natural energy added to his skills and stage presence.
I must mention this production was very much more enjoyable than I found the Henry Fonda/Jane Fonda On Golden Pond movie. It was more natural. For this I credit the actors and the direction of Andrew Botsford. I found it so enjoyable I may go see it again.
On Golden Pond can be seen through Sunday, January 27 – with shows on Thursdays and Fridays at 7 p.m., Saturdays at 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2:30 p.m. There will be an additional matinee performance during the final weekend of the production on Saturday, January 26. There will also be special dinner and theater packages in collaboration with the Westhampton, Southampton, Hampton Bays and Quogue libraries, and a special lunch and theater package, presented in association with the Quogue Club at the Hallock House, for the Saturday matinee on January 26.
Tickets range from $10 to $30.
Quogue Community Hall is located at 125 Jessup Avenue in Quogue. For more information, call 631-653-8955 or visit www.hamptontheatre.org.