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Fiddler on the Roof

Date

29th January 2016

Society

Harrogate Phoenix Players

Venue

Harrogate Theatre

Type of Production

Musical

Director

Mark Edwards

Musical Director

Oliver Longstaff

Choreographer

-

Report

Author: Terry Harrison

This was a show which illustrated the progress being made by this Society, as it achieved a much higher standard than some of its predecessors.  It is, of course, a show with excellent music and much humour, but it can be difficult to cast and disappointing unless carefully handled.

We were certainly in good hands here with a fine performance by Chris Wall as Tevye. The audience warmed to him from the start and his singing and conversations with the Almighty were entertaining. Jane Woodhall made an excellent partner for him as Golde, always matronly but often the more commanding.  Casting of the three older daughters and their respective suitors can sometimes prove difficult as comparatively younger and thus more inexperienced performers are required but the Society had no problems here. I particularly enjoyed Toni Wood’s portrayal of Hodel and her moving performance of her song “Far from the home I love”.

This is quite a long show and there are times when pauses in the dialogue are effective but there were also times when I felt the libretto could have moved on a little quicker. Nevertheless, this was an enjoyable evening with good work from all concerned, backed by an excellent orchestra, for once lacking the otherwise ubiquitous keyboard but boasting instead strings, a mandolin and an accordion, all of which provided the authentic sound for the time and the place.

The Society is at pains to point out the relevance of this show to contemporary events involving refugees and the plight of the vulnerable and homeless, even in a town like Harrogate.  A donation from the price of each ticket is being made to a local project which supports such people and, judging by the numbers in the theatre when I attended, it seems as if this will be a worthwhile sum.  Well done!