Little Miss County Fair

Written on August 16th, 2016

Loving the Local Humour

Little Miss County Fair, now on stage at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia, is a satirical salute to local country life.  Written and directed by David Rogers with music by Mark Payne, this musical covers rural life in southwestern Ontario.   The clever construction of this play is a first for this VPP creative team.  Sure, they have put together musical revues and written witty banter to go with the song line up, but this is the first time they’ve created a show including script, lyrics and music from scratch.Little Miss County Fair

Little Miss County Fair is an over-the-top look at the beauty pageants that are part of local fairs.  Contestants from six southern Ontario counties are now vying for a big title – we have Miss Lambton (Moulan Bourke), Miss Oxford (Jackie English), Miss Middlesex (Melanie Paiement), Miss Elgin (Kristen Pottle), Miss Essex (Jennifer Walls), and Miss Kent (Amelia Welcher).  The lovely little misses have to compete in talent, pie baking, fashion (or what they wore to their high school prom), fitness and a costume parade.

Michael Vanhevel as the slimy and not-too-bright host, Slick Parker, holds the show together.  Vanhevel’s comedic timing is spot on, as he explains he wants to be the next Ryan Seacrest. His hosting skills are punctuated by his hilarious malapropisms – he refers to their “extinguished” judges, for example.  Vanhevel is always popular at VPP, and once again his singing is top-notch.

All six contestants are truly talented comedic actresses.  Moulan Bourke is cheered as Little Miss Lambton County.  In the costume parade she is popular with her gushing oil well costume.  Jackie English as Miss Oxford talks about the dairy farms in her county, and tells the judges “What a friend we have in cheeses.”

Melanie Paiement is a French Canadian transplant to Middlesex.  As Miss Middlesex, she  has some very funny difficulties in promoting her county, not knowing London isn’t part of Middlesex and confusing London, Ontario with London, England.  Kristen Pottle as Miss Elgin struggles with the pie baking contest – hers is gluten free and also flavour free.  But she makes up for it with her cheerleading routine.

Jennifer Walls brings the roof down as Miss Essex, with her talent combo – she plays piano, sings and dances ballet. Amelia Welcher keeps the audience laughing as Miss Kent, the girl who can do everything.  But there are some cute ironic twists – even though she’s an overachiever, she is not able to bake, and submits a store-bought pie.

For anyone who has enjoyed “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee”, Little Miss County Fair will be a treat.   Like Spelling Bee, this show gives us insight into what the contestants are thinking, which adds to the hilarity.

This brand new musical is a crowd-pleaser with its many satiric pokes at local lore and landmarks.  Southern Ontario theatre-goers will enjoy the information about their home counties, supplied by the six little misses.  Plus, they have the opportunity to root for their representative and if they are lucky enough to be chosen as an “extinguished” judge, they will get to pick a winner!

Little Miss County Fair continues at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia until August 20.  Call the box office at 1-800-717-7694 or 519-882-1221 for tickets or visit

Photo: Amelia Welcher, Kristen Pottle, Jackie English, Michael Vanhevel, Melanie Paiement, Jennifer Walls & Moulan Bourke.  Photo by Diane ODell. 

Little Miss County Fair
Book & Lyrics by David Rogers
Music by Mark Payne
Directed by David Rogers
Musical Direction by Mark Payne
Choreographed by Adele MacKenzie
Performed by Moulan Bourke, Jackie English, Melanie Paiement, Kristen Pottle, Michael Vanhevel, Jennifer Walls, Amelia Welcher.
Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia
August 9 to 20, 2016
Reviewed by Mary Alderson

One Response to “Little Miss County Fair” | Add Your Thoughts

  1. Nancy Anne Smith
    August 17, 2016 at 3:39 pm

    As usual, I agree with your commentary. I really appreciated the comedy without corny groaner-type jokes. Fast paced and lighthearted silliness – just right for summer consumption!

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