Fiddler on the Roof
Review by NODA - May 2014
The story of the Tevye his family and his fellow townsfolk facing eviction from their small Ukrainian town of Anatevka on the eve of the Russian revolution remains as poignant as ever. Tevye is a complex character, who battles with the changes which are happening all around him. As such, Dave Blaker showed the anger and frustration of his situation, coupling that with a true sadness at losing his daughters to the modern world. A softer side was briefly evident in “Do You Love Me”, his duet with wife Golde and he also brought out the humour of the role particularly in the spectacular “Dream” sequence. Kathryn Irwin as Golde, the unquestionable matriarch, gave an outstanding vocal performance paired with a confident and self-assured portrayal of the Mama. This show allows for many feature principals including Kaya Hutchinson as Hodel the second Daughter who gave a beautiful performance of the melancholy “Far from the Home I Love”. Liam Galashan as Motel the Tailor was self-effacing without being too hapless, Andrew Williams as Perchik the Student, was earnest in his intentions and secure in his vocal performance, and the flamboyant Sarah Photogirl brought a dramatic intensity to Fruma Sarah. The large cast and ensemble gave a feeling of community from the opening “Tradition” through “Sunrise, Sunset” to the closing “Anatevka”. The choreography and direction blended well to give an authentic feel to the ensemble numbers. The colour palette of costumes and lighting was evocative of the period and the simple set complemented the overall feel of the show.
Just the thought of Fiddler on the Roof usually has me scurrying for the exit before one note has been played – it’s not my favourite musical. It’s not that family rebellion and revolution make for dull musicals - take Les Mis for instance – it’s the show’s lack of pizzazz and hit songs. Yes I know it has If I were a Rich Man and Matchmaker – hardly ones to shout from the roof-tops. But I really could not fault the company’s first class presentation of the musical about poor Ukranian milkman Tevye, struggling to keep his family together in the face of erosion of traditional values and encroaching revolutionary change. And, unlike the film version, director Tim Tubbs brought out the humour in the piece – the song-exchange between Tevye and Golde – Do you Love Me – was hilariously funny. On the subject of Tevye, Dave Blaker, the man who played him, was the heart and soul of this piece. He was outstanding – singing and acting. His stage presence and baritone were the combination needed to carry off this tour-de-force of a part. He had sterling support from Kathryn Irwin as his wife Golde, and Chloe Whitehouse, Kaya Hutchinson and Katie and Sophie Buttner as their daughters who, to varying degrees, hurt both their parents. There were lovely cameos too, from Jeanette DuPont as the matchmaker, Paul Buttner as Lazar, Andrew Williams as Perchik and Liam Galashan as Motel. As for my taste in shows – what do I know? This was one of Scarborough Musicals most successful productions, with full houses, cheers up to the rafters and standing ovations. It was all richly deserved – the company and material were a true match.