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Review: On Golden Pond is like going on a great vacation after pandemic

Miracle Theatre held its opening night Friday for their latest production On Golden Pond and will continue to offer up this poignant and uplifting play by Ernest Thompson at the Prince George Playhouse until April 17.
Miracle Theatre On Golden Pond
William Vickers and Linda Goranson are seen here as Norman and Ethel Thayer during Miracle Theatre's production of On Golden Pond presented at the Prince George Playhouse until April. 17.

Miracle Theatre held its opening night Friday for their latest production On Golden Pond and will continue to offer up this poignant and uplifting play by Ernest Thompson at the Prince George Playhouse until April 17.

Everything patrons have come to expect of a professional theatre production presented by Miracle Theatre is right there before the eyes of the audience.

The detailed set, with strategic lighting, and all the little props that make this set a home On Golden Pond comes together to set the perfect stage quite beautifully.

In walks William Vickers. a well-known face to Prince George audiences. Vickers plays the lead character of Norman Thayer, the cantankerous retiree who tries the patience of his very tolerant and mostly exasperated wife Ethel as they settle into another summer On Golden Pond.

Vickers, as a consummate professional, takes this role on with great gusto and panache, embracing all the complications that comes with playing a proud rooster, ruffling feathers and strutting about, only to be taken down a few notches by the aging process.

Ethel is played by Linda Goranson and with a little spunk and a spring in her step Goranson wrangles Vickers as best she can, while showing her good-natured spirit by enthusiastically using her nickname for her dear husband – ‘poop!’

As in ‘you’re a poop’, ‘you poop’, and ‘don’t be a poop,’ along with a ‘isn’t he a poop?’ thrown in for good measure as Goranson plays her part perfectly.

The whole production trips along at a nice pace with consummate professionals in each role taking the audience on the sweet story of how Norman and Ethel live their lives as best they can as daughter Chelsea brings along her boyfriend and his teenage son into the mix as some relationships are begun, another rekindled while that complicated relationship between father and daughter is finally repaired.

Julien Arnold as Charlie Martin, the mail man, offers a lovely hilarity as he often includes us all in the joke as he recalls days gone by when his unrequited crush on Chelsea brought him hope, joy and some great memories.

Tracy Michailidis plays Chelsea and she brings so much energy to her role, you can’t help but get carried along as she rides the roller coaster of her emotions as she decides to take the necessary steps to mend her relationship with Norman.

Prince George actor Gil Botelho plays Bill Ray whose scene with Vickers as Norman is a lesson in banter at its best, a match of wits that surprised his character who set his boundaries very quickly while enjoying his most unusual conversation with 70-something head-of-the-household Norman. The tension mounted beautifully as the 45 year-old Bill tried to navigate around the very touchy subject of sharing a bed with Norman’s daughter under the man’s roof, only to find out it was never really an issue in the first place. The conversation is a priceless volley of not only words but wills as each man tried to establish himself with the other. Very entertaining indeed.

And Bill Ray’s son Billy, played by Nick Hilland on opening night who will be sharing the role with Jack Westerlaken moving forward, was a real treat.

Hilland didn’t miss a beat, had attitude when it was called for, was playful and smart-mouthed as one would expect a 13-year-old to be, and best of all as the new relationships meshed together, he became an integral part of the resurgence of Norman’s passion for the best lake past time ever – fishing - while Norman's youthful energy was reignited.

This is Ted Price and Anne Laughlin of Miracle Theatre’s sixth production where all profits go towards local non-profits to benefit those in the community. So far they have raised more than $334,000 and hope to meet or beat last year’s total of $106,000 for their latest project. This year, funds raised will go to the Prince George Hospice Palliative Care Society through a sustainable endowment fund managed by the Prince George Community Foundation.

Tickets are still available for $35 each at Books & Co., 1685 Third Ave., or by phone at 250-563-6637. For more information about Miracle Theatre visit www.miracletheatre.ca.