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Fiddler is a lovely show, with some beautiful music.  It actually has a bit of a story, which is very emotive.

The set was simple, but the backdrop was beautifully lit, and the gauze behind which action took place created a lovely dimension.  

There were a couple of places where mics were slow to engage, and there was an awful lot of crackling from a couple of mic packs, which caused some amusement to the audience, and which I hope was a small problem that was ironed out for subsequent performances.

The production was fairly traditional and true to the original, but had some nice twists, particularly in the creative choreography from Ashley Mead.  The humour was also brought to the fore, which made the production more lively than perhaps is usual, and which lightened a sometimes dark passage.

Chris Young had got the sound of the music of the time with the accordion particularly, it all worked well and sounded good.

The costumes were very suitable – and although echoing the natural earthy colours that would be worn in those days, there were muted flashes of a deeper colour, costumes were crisp and the overall effect was first class.

Alan Clarke played the pivotal role of Tevye – and for my money really encompassed the whole ethos of the man, the wry humour when speaking to his God, the emotion of having to try and turn his back on his daughter, the sudden dawning that perhaps tradition was something that could be slightly sidelined, and new ideas looked at. I think Alan brought all his experience and understanding to the role, which I loved.

It was nice to have a proper ‘fiddler’ – Lynette Driver, and not just someone making the moves – it added to the feel of the piece, and although I felt Lynette was a little tentative at the beginning, she gained in confidence, and was integral to the meaning of the story.  

Tradition is a spectacular opening number – and it was brought to life with all the normal elements, but with some small diversions, including the cast making use of the stage behind the house.  I liked the fact that straight lines were broken up with grouping, creating more visual interest.

Angela Goss made Yente the Matchmaker a super character, it is a lovely part, that Angela played to the full, and was a good foil to the other ladies of the cast.

Susan Young was a fine Golde, giving us the doting mother wanting the best for her daughters, but accepting of her husband’s ruling – whatever that might be – a good relationship between her and Tevye.

The couple’s daughters, who started rebelling against Tradition, were all very well-played, Kim Albone was a feisty Tzeitel, sticking to her guns when faced with the prospect of an arranged marriage, and Simon Rollings came up trumps as her preferred suitor, Motel.  They made a good couple, and I enjoyed their number.  

Katie Ross always gives a good performance, and this was no exception, she created a calm, charming Hodel, again strong in her decision about who she would marry, and an excellent foil to Tzeitel and Chava.  I loved the railway scene, so emotional, and the split stage with Perchik covered with snow, created a beautiful scene, backed by a haunting song from Katie.

Ellie Reay played the younger sister Chava, who again was determined to go her own way, perhaps not as feisty as Tzeitel, but again another dimension to the relationships.  These three young ladies created a super trio of contrasting personalities, all sang with conviction and brought different vocal sounds to the music, with good harmonies.

The two younger daughters were nicely played by Bethany Gammon and Jodie O’Loughlin.

Sam Rowland, a new face to DAOS, was an earnest Perchik, a nice character and good vocal ability.  Definitely a good addition to the cast.

I liked Luigi Muscella’s Rabbi – very vague and confused, which suited the character well – and Alex Wheeler as his son Mendel, showed what an accomplished young performer he is becoming – participating fully in the musical and dance numbers.

Chris Lane played Lazar Wolf – I liked his take on the man, which was a little softer and not as coarse as some I’ve seen, and the temper that flared at the wedding was good.

Dave Corbett got the feeling of the Constable well, trying to be in charge, but also secretly sympathising with the plight of the people.  Nicely done, and James Halling as part of the establishment who fell for Chava, also created the slight confusion of a man torn between the two.

Paul Rogers created a good Avram, and really engaged with the feeling of the piece in a slightly upbeat way, which contrasted well with the other older members of the establishment.

Barbara Morton was a super Fruma Sarah, a great part she could get her teeth into.  Rosemary O’Toole also did well as Grandma Tzeitel.

I loved the ‘bottle dance’ it is always a highlight, and was well-accomplished by the four young men – showing the traditional side of the choreography.

There were so many characters it is difficult to mention everyone, but overall I felt everyone really bought into the production, and gave us a delightful and emotive show, with some very strong character portrayals.  The music is always a joy.

Dunstable Amatuer Operatic Society

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF” review date: 10th Oct2014

Little Theatre, Dunstable

Director: Alan Goss   MD: Chris Young

Choreographer: Ashley Mead


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