Theatre review: Fiddler on the Roof
Today’s world is full of news stories about division, suspicion and conflict of beliefs. No different, it would seem, was life in 1905. Here we meet Teyve, the husband of Golde, and father of five daughters. In the opening scene a four piece band booms as the Everyman’s new collection of 14 in-house actors, The Company, set the scene with ‘Tradition!’
Introduced by our fiddler, the song quickly reaches heady harmonies and we find ourselves escorted back to the rural village of Anatevka. The mix of music and cleverly subtle lighting maintains an atmosphere of tension, between not only Jews and gentiles but family and friends.
Teyve (Patrick Brennan) is a simple man wanting only the best for his family. Brennan’s acting is first class and his renditions of ‘If I Were a Rich Man” and other numbers do well to showcase his talents.
Director, Gemma Bodinetz has cleverly used the setting in such a way as to make the audience feel a part of the village or indeed, the family. Moving scenes around the Sabbath table and the wedding under the canopy enhance the intimate experience of community life. A life were acts of kindness are a blessing to all involved.
Stunning vocals are displayed by Melanie La Barrie as Golde. Pauline Daniels keeps us entertained with snappy one-liners and words of wisdom as Yente, the matchmaker. Special mention must be made of Emily Hughes as Hodel. Delicately, yet maturely she commands the stage. Her vocal control and gentle presence is truly impressive.
Credit must be given to choreographer Thomas Jackson Greaves, as this production is a true example of how movement and dance can lift or lower a mood in such a poignant way.
Being this, the first of five plays in a series, the bar has already been set extremely high. At first some may feel this choice of production could be seen as dated or behind the times. But one need only pay attention to the themes of displacement; the separation of loved ones, and indeed the conflicts of faith to realise that there are still many lessons to be learned from the story of The Fiddler.
With tickets available until Saturday 11th March, ‘The Fiddler on The Roof’ is a must-see performance by a truly incredible cast. It will have you humming the songs for days after!