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Fiddler On The Roof

Date

18th April 2013

Society

Billericay Operatic Society

Venue

The Brentwood Theatre

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Wayne Carpenter assisted by Judith Whittaker

Musical Director

Derrick Thompson

Choreographer

Jane Granby

Report

Author: Tessa Davies

I was wondering just how Billericay Operatic Society were going to perform this show in this small, intimate theatre.  I need not have been concerned, the answer is, brilliantly!  Fiddler is, generally, perceived to require a large theatre and a large cast.  Billericay managed the second part extremely well.  I don’t know where they found all the males that were required, but they are to be complimented on such a great cast.

As for a large theatre, this was simply not an issue as the cleverly designed standing set was converted from interior to exterior scenes calmly and with speed.   One of my favourite scenes in this show is the ‘Fruma-Sarah’ scene, it is so easy to go ‘over the top’ with this scene and the Director resisted that temptation; it was simply done, very atmospheric and well performed.

Director Wayne Carpenter had clearly encouraged the cast to develop their characters and every single person showed that they had a part to play.  He also played Tevye, with great style and empathy, one of the best interpretations I have seen in a long while.  So full marks to him and his support team, to whom he gives his thanks and credit in the programme.

Gail Carpenter gave us a lovely interpretation of his wife Golde, truly a Jewish Matriach!  The daughters were all very good and I would, particularly, mention Alice Wesson (Tzeitel) Georgia Redgwell (Hodel) and Jaz Cook (Chava).  Kieran Hynes (Motel) and Matthew Carpenter (Perchik) both gave good performances and the rest of the cast were all excellent.

The dancing was excellent and the whole cast were well drilled and ’together’.  It must have been a challenge to put this large cast (I counted 39) on a relatively small stage, but I did not ever feel that the stage was crowded.

Costumes were spot on and completely appropriate to the period and seasons in the play.  Lighting was excellent and beautifully timed.  Sound was good and, although Wayne had a few problems with his mic, he did not let this faze him and simply projected.  In truth I don’t think this theatre needs enhanced sound for the volume but the decision to use mics for the singing was right as it enabled the operator to use reverb and an echo effect for Fruma Sarah.

Overall, an outstanding example of how a strong show can work in a small theatre, well done Billericay, I look forward to the next show.