At the outset of Pat Hazell’s delightful one-man show “The Wonder Bread Years,” he endearingly promises “a field trip back in time.” Fortunately, it doesn’t matter that Hazell is primarily addressing baby boomers for his witty observational humor appeals to multiple ages and demographics, ensuring a hilarious, relatable evening of sunny nostalgia.
The current presentation on the Victoria Theatre Association’s Miami Valley and Good Samaritan Hospitals Broadway Series and previously staged at the Loft Theatre in 2002, “The Wonder Bread Years” supplies a fast paced hodgepodge of indelible impressions from Hazell’s humble, middle class upbringing. With an engaging sense of awe and insightfulness, the Nebraska native and former “Seinfeld” writer fondly recalls such topics as show and tell, brown bag lunches, family road trips to odd locales, sitting at the dreaded kids’ table at Thanksgiving, anticipating the ice cream truck in his neighborhood, and wearing recycled Halloween costumes. He also supplies humorous anecdotes about the flyswatter, the coin purse, kid phrases, mottos and jingles, and products such as Kool-Aid, Velvetta cheese, Manwich and SPAM (which he deems “something posing as meat”).
Hazell takes his charming concept further by digging into his family archives and incorporating a slide show that chronicles some of the experiences shared throughout the show. It’s a clever touch and an entertaining crowd pleaser. In fact, the opening slide show of assorted scenes of Americana instantly prepares the audience for Hazell’s wonderful world of reminiscences.
With the holiday season at fever pitch, it’s a perfect time to pause and be reminded of the innocence, magic and surprise of childhood. Don’t hesitate to take a trip down memory lane with Hazell. No one knows the path quite like him.
“The Wonder Bread Years” continues through Sunday, December 19 at the Victoria Theatre, 138 N. Main St. Performances are Thursday and Friday at 8 p.m., Saturday at 2 and 8 p.m. and Sunday at 2 and 7:30 p.m. Tickets are priced at $39-$81. For tickets or more information, call Ticket Center Stage at (937) 228-3630 or visit www.ticketcenterstage.com