Fiddler on the Loose

The Show Created for the Talent

Fiddler on the Loose is billed as “Country, Celtic and a Dash of Classical” – and yes, it’s all that and more. They could have added Broadway, jazz, and comedy. With regards to other musical revues, I’ve said in the past “There’s something for everyone” but in Fiddler on the Loose, it’s definitely true.

While it covers a broad spectrum of musical styles, it’s the fiddle or violin that pulls all the genres together. And what makes this season opener at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia so special is the amazing talent.Fiddler on the Loose

This show is the creation of artistic directors David Rogers and David Hogan, and it was built around the talent that they’ve put on stage in the past. Jesse Grandmont was outstanding in their shows ‘Let the Sunshine In” (Sarnia) and “Country Sunshine” (VPP), so Fiddler on the Loose was created to show off his talent as a violin player and singer with great stage presence. Joining him on stage is newcomer Stephanie Cadman, a quadruple threat who sings, dances, acts and plays fiddle. Completing the cast are VPP favourites Janelle Murray, who again shows her superior opera talent along with great comedy chops, and Diane Chase with her warm country and pop singing. The musicians, who will be remembered from previous seasons, are joining in the vocals and taking centre stage more often.

The show opens with a Fiddler on the Loose/Roof joke. Mark Payne as Tevye tries to take us back to Petroliavka in 1905, while Jesse Grandmont fiddles on the roof. Keeping with the roof motif, Mark yanks off his prayer apron and beard, and they switch into “This Cat’s on a Hot Tin Roof”. The familiar words to “Just a Gigolo” become “Just a Fiddle and Bow”. Stephanie Cadman and Jesse have fun with a duelling fiddles competition. Country music is saluted with “Jolene” and a medley of train songs, from Folsum Prison Blues to the requisite “Orange Blossom Special.” Diane Chase gives a beautiful presentation of “Midnight Train to Georgia”. In the midst of this Janelle Murray presents an opera number which will bring tears to your eyes with its beauty, and Stephanie shows incredible talent as a tap dancer. The entire cast plays violins for their catchy version of Cold Play’s Viva La Vida.

The wide variety continues in act two, with the violins of Phantom of the Opera, an Irish jig, and a comedy number where Janelle brings back last year’s frumpy housewife. Jesse comes wears a tux with tails to render a selection of classical waltzes on violin, and Janelle sings the beautiful “You Raise Me Up”.

The list goes on – with very creative use of fiddles/violins by very talented people. The quality of talent in this amazing cast is unfathomable. Petrolia should be proud to attract such gifted entertainers.

If you’re thinking you won’t go because you’re not a country fan or a Celtic fan, you will still enjoy this show because there is so much variety. And if the particular song isn’t your style, you will still appreciate the superior quality.

The line up of songs in this show is like the weather we’ve been having lately – you don’t like it? Sit still, it will change in a minute.

Fiddler on the Loose continues at Victoria Playhouse Petrolia until June 2. Call the box office at 1-800-717-7694 or 519-882-1221 for tickets or visit

Fiddler on the Loose
Directed by David Rogers
Choreography by David Hogan and Adele McKenzie
Musical direction by Mark Payne
Performed by Jess Grandmont, Stephanie Cadman, Diane Chase, Janelle Murray, with Alex Baerg, Dan Baerg, Klinger’s lix, Mark Laidman and Mark Payne.
Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia
May 15 to June 2, 2013
Reviewed by Mary Alderson


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