Vaudeville has returned in all its glory with 1812’s THE BIG TIME: NEW VAUDEVILLE FOR THE HOLIDAYS. Pratfalls, double entendres, and caricatures of people past and present light up the stage in a series of different vignettes, connected by their vaudevillian style! Directed, created, and performed by the multi-talented Jennifer Childs, along with performers Scott Greer, Dave Jadico, and Greg Nix (and Tony Braithwaite for some of the later performances), the show is a mix of traditional vaudeville with modern touches that relate to all people.
THE BIG TIME opens with a bang with Greg, our master of ceremonies for the evening. His combination ukulele/singing/sweeping skills are impressive enough, not to mention his comic timing that keeps the whole show flowing. It also doesn’t hurt that he looked adorable in his bow time and newsie-style cap, reminiscent of young vaudevillians of old.
The show ebbs and flows with a series of comedic vignettes, all different with the performers playing a multitude of characters. Greer expertly runs the gamut of characters from a hillbilly to a third generation Italian baker (perhaps straight out of South Philly) to an all American comic who effortlessly delivers a punch line, even when he’s not trying. Childs delights in roles such as the Spanish lover, the girl getting ready for prom in the 1950s, 80s, modern day, and vaudevillian day (I could watch Childs mime getting ready for prom for hours), and perhaps most hysterically as the balloon-popping diva. Jadico also gives strong performances, with his juggling prowess and 3.5-inch tennis shorts heavily on display.
Costume design by Alisa Sickora Kleckner is smartly done, considering the multitude of characters that have to be portrayed. Lights by Shelley Hicken and sound by Christopher Colucci enhance THE BIG TIME and it’s comedic elements along with the scenic design by Lance Kniskern (spoiler alert: the walls may or may not all hysterically fall down.)
Overall, 1812’s THE BIG TIME: NEW VAUDEVILLE FOR THE HOLIDAYS is a show that promises to make you laugh. Its performers are unapologetically funny and will keeping you rolling in your seats from beginning to end. November 29-December 31, 2014, 1812productions.org.