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“FIDDLER ON THE ROOF”
This was probably the most energetic production of Fiddler I have seen. From the outset I felt the enthusiasm, it showed in the fiddler (Matthew Joslin) seated on the roof, playing a really tuneful and rich sounding theme, to Tradition, where everyone looked bright, and fully participated in the choreography, I felt the love and empathy from the cast. My notes described the opening as joyous!
The set was standard for the show, but I liked the dimming to working lights without complete blackouts, and the quick scene changes, with the cast moving props etc where relevant, it kept the audience interest and the flow of action. I liked the scene change musical accompaniment too – always a plus for me.
Costumes were very suitable, everyone looked good.
The lighting throughout kept the ambience of the production, with the effects for The Dream being especially good, as was the repeat of Tradition.
Musically I found nothing jarred, the harmonies from the ensemble, and the vocal
quality of the principals was mostly spot-
Sound was excellent.
Linda Dyne showed a fine insight into the ethos of the piece, with good choreography throughout. It also brought home the terror and sadness of people’s lives in that era.
Stephen Wilks showed a fine voice and good understanding of Tevye – probably one of the best I’ve seen, I felt we had a fully rounded character, with a nice twinkle in his eye when speaking to the higher being! I enjoyed his rendition of Rich Man, it was extremely good.
Golde was nicely portrayed by Debby Connor – vocally and expression-
The Sabbath Prayer was beautiful – simple and effective, with lovely sounds from the ensemble.
I liked the energy of To Life, and the fact that the Russian soldiers kept a dialogue going between themselves when Tevye, Lazar Wolf and the villagers were singing, and then came into their own when they took up the music – they also achieved a very good dance break – overall an accomplished number.
I enjoyed the interlude with the use of the Fiddler.
Tevye’s monologues with his daughters and their proposed husbands, used very atmospheric lighting, which enhanced the action.
I loved The Dream sequence, this is the first time I have seen Fruma Sarah fly, it certainly made an impact, and changed the dynamic – excellent.
The wedding scene was very well-
The duets and ensemble numbers were mostly first-
Tevye’s older three daughters, played by Cate Brooks (Tzeitel), Emily Down (Hodel)
and Emily Down (Chava) gave their characters depth and I liked the relationships
they built with their respective partners – all very proper as it would have been,
but with underlying emotion. Well-
Lee Harris (Motel), Alex Salter (Perchick) and Zodiac Willoughby-
I liked Jane Foufas as Yente – the meddlesome and gossipy matchmaker – a super characterisation.
Clive Webb gave Lazar Wolf a rather softer edge than normal, but that said gave as good as he got in the wedding scene!!
The other smaller principal parts were all very well-
The Jewish edge to the principal’s accents were kept well throughout, not too pronounced, but enough to give the right feel, and there were several very poignant moments, that affected the audience as they should.
Overall a remarkable production, I was very impressed, as with the older more traditional musicals it is often difficult to make them feel different and exciting, but I felt this was definitely achieved in this production, so very well done to all involved.
St. Albans Operatic Society
“FIDDLER ON THE ROOF”
review date: 30th April 2015 at Alban Arena, St Albans
Director & Choreographer: Linda Dyne
MD: Philip Joslin