Fiddler on the Loose 2

Written on June 16th, 2014

 Violin Rock ‘n’ Roll for Baby Boomers

Last year, Victoria Playhouse presented Fiddler on the Loose and billed it as Country, Celtic and a Dash of Classical, making it a show all would enjoy.  This year, they are reaching out to baby boomers with a rock and roll fiddler.  Don’t worry, they throw in a touch of country and a hint of musical theatre.  But overall, it’s a selection of seventies rock and roll favourites.

The show stars Jesse Grandmont, fiddler extraordinaire, but he is joined this year by his younger sister, Leah Grandmont, an amazing 17-year-old who can not only play the violin, but also sings beautifully.

Jesse and Leah sing a duet, Donnie and Marie style – Leah is a little bit country, while Jesse is a little bit rock and roll.Fiddler on the loose2

Also on stage with strong voices are Jenn Kee and Gerrad Everard.  Kee gives an excellent rendition of Me & Bobby McGee, Janis Joplin style and Crazy à la Patsy Cline.   Everard does a hilarious Mick Jagger impersonation.

Things heat up with a medley of hot songs including Disco Inferno, Ring of Fire, Smoke on the Water and Great Balls of Fire, where musical director Mark Payne gives his best Jerry Lee Lewis impression.

Percussionist Dan Baerg moves into the spotlight for a duel with Jesse.  Dan pulls a large vibraphone on stage and artfully plays various tunes, battling with Jesse on the fiddle for stage supremacy. Usually in the back corner behind the drum set, Dan proves he has both musical and comedic chops.

Eight small children join the cast on stage – all violin students at the Forest City School for Talent Education.  They contribute on several Beatle tunes: Eleanor Rigby is a great song to showcase violins. A shout out to10 year old Brett Trampleasure for some great fiddling.

Since so many people thought that Fiddler on the Loose was really Fiddler on the Roof, the cast offers a beautiful medley of all the songs in the Broadway musical:  If I were a Rich Man, Matchmaker, Sunrise-Sunset and others are real crowd pleasers.

Another special performance of note is Dee Klinger’s Stairway to Heaven.  Klinger’s amazing guitar playing rivals anything in the Led Zepplin original.

Another audience favourite is Jesse’s haunting violin accompanied by Mark Payne’s keyboard for a presentation of Danny Boy.  And the little folks appreciate Let It Go from the recent popular Disney movie Frozen.

Throughout the show there is plenty of corny banter and lots of groaners. With a crowd of egg farmers in the audience on opening night, we heard every possible bad pun using the word egg.  Frankly let’s hope that they give up on the bad puns for subsequent shows – it won’t fly without the egg growers present anyway.

Well-worn jokes aside; it’s a very entertaining evening – a walk down the musical memory lane for baby boomers, with some very talented musicians and vocalists.

Fiddler on the Loose 2 continues at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia until June 10.  Tickets are available at the VPP box office at 519-882-1221 or 1-800-717-7694 or visit

Fiddler on the Loose 2
Conceived and Written by David Rogers
Directed by David Hogan
Musical direction by Mark Payne
Choreographed by Adele MacKenzie
Performed by Jesse Grandmont, Jenn Kee, Gerrad Everard, Leah Grandmont, Brad Trampleasure.
Music:  Dan Baerg (Percussion), Mark Laidman (Bass), Dee Klinger (Guitar), Evan Wiebe (Cello).
Victoria Playhouse Petrolia
June 10 to 29, 2014
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

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