The Roaring Twenties

Happy Days are Here Again!

Reviewed by Vicki Stokes

May flowers are blooming and yet Victoria Playhouse Petrolia is celebrating New Year’s Eve at a jazz club in the year 1929.  But this is perfectly okay: VPP has had to put a hold on this show since 2020.  It is a thrill for everyone, from the performers to the patrons, to see The Roaring Twenties finally hit the stage.

There are times when we all have bars of melody or a few lyrics in our heads and aren’t especially aware of the source.  We may have heard a bastardized version on a television commercial, cartoon or movie.  “Ain’t She Sweet,” we’ll sing, “Something, something down the street.”  But where did it come from?  Who composed it?  When was it written, and who sang it?  Was it part of a musical? Well, the characters in The Roaring Twenties have the answers, presented in a light-hearted, interesting way.

Songs from that decade of Jazz, Blues, Broadway hits, and Dance Bands have filtered their way through to today, with the help of recording technology and remakes (think Elvis) and the growing music industry of the day.  We may even know some of the songs quite well and the names of those involved such as Fanny Brice (think Barbra Streisand’s Funny Girl) or Cole Porter (think the 2004 film De-Lovely).

The two Davids, Rogers and Hogan, never cease to amaze and impress.  They do an excellent job of incorporating songs of this period with a little history (flappers, prohibition), a little comedy (bananas) and a few surprises.  I can’t imagine a show that could pack more pieces of music into it.  Mark Payne (as Marty) always impresses, “tickling” those ivories in countless variations, with the assistance of Erik Larson on bass and Dave Robilliard on percussion.

It is worth waiting until 2022 to see this bright, entertaining production.  The Davids bring a whole decade of entertainment to their stage and squeeze it into an hour and a half.

The performers, in the roles of 1920s characters, bring the unique sound of the twenties.  It isn’t just the wigs and the costumes and stage dressing that take you back a hundred years.  They use their voices in deference to the singers of the time. A prime example of this is “I Wanna Be Loved by You” as performed by Alicia Ault.  The voice matches the time and place of origin and even has a feel for the recording quality.

Andrew Scanlon’s rendition of “Are You Lonesome Tonight” cuts closer to the original than Elvis’s version.  Monique Lund has some fun as Sophie Tucker.  Alyssa Curto shows her versatility from “Melancholy Baby” to a piece from a famous Operetta, sung with Stephen Ingram. Ingram demonstrates that “Me and My Shadow” goes back further than Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis Jr. The remaining cast, each of whom I’m sure we will be seeing much more, are part of the New Year’s party and participate in singing and dancing routines. Dozens of musical hits unfold at a quick, lively pace and the talent is phenomenal.

Time will tell what our Twenties will be called but it is certainly a lot of fun exploring the musical stylings of the Roaring Twenties. Happy days are finally here again at the VPP!

The Roaring Twenties continues at the VPP until May 22. Call 1-800-717-7694 or 519-882-1221 or visit for tickets.

Photo: The Roaring Twenties at Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia. Photo by Diane O’Dell

Note: Masks are not required and VPP is operating at full capacity.

The Roaring Twenties
Conceived by D2 Entertainment
Directed by David Rogers
Choreographed by David Hogan
Performed by Alicia Ault, Alyssa Curto, Stephen Ingram, Monique Lund, with Evans Bicum, Timothy Harder, Maddox Keller, Caitlin McKeon, Hadley Mustakas
Victoria Playhouse, Petrolia
May 10 to 22, 2022
Reviewed by Vicki Stokes


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