Fiddler on the Roof
14th October 2015
Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds
Type of Production
Author: Julie Petrucci
Fiddler on the Roof is set in the small Jewish village of Anatevka, Russia, in 1905 and is concerned primarily with the efforts of Tevye, a dairyman, his wife, Golde, and their five daughters to cope with their harsh existence under Tsarist rule.
Marc Kerr’s Tevye was a splendid creation. He had an exceptional grasp of the role bringing out all the humour of the character and created a believable relationship with his wife and daughters.
I was very impressed with performances of the five daughters Jordan Cooper (Chava), Ella-Rose O’Grady (Sprintze), Imogen Cannon (Biekle): Megan Barber (Hodel) and Rachelle Curtis (Tzeitel). They all gave confident performances with the bonus addition of good voices particularly Tzeitel and Hodel. There was a beautiful scene between Tevye and Hodel outside the railroad station Far From the Home I Love.
Lou Petch as wife Golde has good stage presence but, for me, her performance lacked the necessary empathy with Tevye. Having said that, she has a great voice and there was a touching scene when the two sang Do You love Me?
There were fine performances from Tom Anderson as Lazar Wolf the village butcher and Jeremy Warbrick as The Constable. A minor yet important role which has to strike the balance between a friendly relationship whilst maintaining a position of authority. It is a role often overlooked so I was pleased to see it done so well here. Damon Morrish also made a good impression as Perchik the student, bravely standing out against the village traditions, endeavouring to convince people things were changing. Good support too was given by Ben Hill (Motel the tailor), Colin Musgrove (Mordcha the inn keeper), Fiona Barker (Yente, the matchmaker) and James Malone as Fyedka.
For me there were two or three things on the debit side: I felt the dream sequence was in danger of getting out of control and I didn’t like Tevye walking amongst and chatting to the audience, it broke the rhythm for me. I also had a problem with the full-on shouting matches between Golde and Tevye I think we could have seen a few more tender moments between the two.
However, there was plenty on the credit side. In particular the singing. Great work by MD James Recknell. The ensemble was excellent and all principals had fine voices. Technically too, the show was first-rate. It is difficult to fault either the lighting, costumes, props or scenery. BSEAODS has an excellent stage crew who always work swiftly and unobtrusively.
Director Louise Travis brought much humour to the show rather than dwelling too heavily on the tragedy of the story and she certainly succeeded with some nice directorial touches. The mixture of relationships, tradition, and village life all came together with some excellent ensemble movement which did credit to Choreographer Heather Couch’s reproduction of Jerome Robbins’ original choreography.
Allegedly the most performed musical ever Fiddler on the Roof like Les Miserables doesn’t exactly send you on your way full of the joys of life but ‘Fiddler’ shows that with humour people have the strength of will to overcome adversity.
BSEAODS once again gave us a show well worth seeing. The evening though belonged to Tevye and the tour de force which was Marc Kerr.