Revisiting a favourite old movie on the stage

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July, 2022

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After a two-year delay, my sister and I were finally able to see On Golden Pond at the Victoria Playhouse ( in Petrolia, Ontario this summer. Michael Learned, the mother from the Waltons television series, was originally cast in the female lead played by Katherine Hepburn in the 1971 movie. However, as it came time to actually perform the play Ms. Learned had to withdraw due to illness so Karen Grassle stepped into the lead. You may remember Ms. Grassle as the mother in Little House on the Prairie.

I’m glad to say that it was worth the wait. After two years of continuing bad news around the world it was nice to spend an afternoon watching a heartwarming play that was well acted by all. The set and lighting design were used to good effect to show the passing of time across the summer and it was lovely to hear the loon calls from the lake. Having spent much of my younger years camping in northern Ontario they were a delight.

If you’re in the area of Petrolia, the Victoria Playhouse is well worth checking out. There are many small theatres like it in southwestern Ontario that all put on good shows every season. Petrolia is an old Victorian town built on the oil industry and the theatre is one of the older buildings still in use. There is free parking in the lot across from the theatre and there is an elevator to all but the top floor.

Denise Bridge

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