A most impressive version of this much loved musical now regarded as a classic.
While FIDDLER ON THE ROOF is now over 50 years old and its story set in a Jewish community in pre-revolutionary Russia, the issues it raises of racism, displacement and refugees are still more than relevant today.
FIDDLER ON THE ROOF , with is main character of Tevye the village milkman, looks at both the happy and dark sides of life – love ( the weddings , Now I have everything ) and happiness are contrasted with poverty and persecution ( the rumours of pogroms, the interruption and destruction of the wedding and all the people being driven from the village.)
New ideas as proposed by Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud and Albert Einstein are emerging and the world as Tevye knows it it , overshadowed by chaos and war , is completely changing. Can Tevye and his family adjust ? Tevye is also shown as questioning his faith and being cold and implacable when he disowns his daughter Chava for marrying a gentile.
The orchestra under the baton of maestro Peter Sampson was in fine form .
Under Colin Peet’s strong direction with great panache it is a well though nicely paced and quite moving production with a large dynamic ensemble and great leads. The rather long Act I contains some of the shows best-known songs including the exuberant Tradition, three of the daughter’s Matchmaker, the show stopping If I Were a Rich Man and the haunting Sunrise, Sunset. In the shorter Act II the mood darkens noticeably and the community we have joined is unwillingly dispersed . Musically at times the show could be regarded as operatic, at other times liturgical ( eg the beautiful celebration of the Sabbath prayer) and there are also perhaps hints of Sondheim ( listen to Anatevka).
The staging is minimalist but effective with Tevye’s house on one side and on the other separate windows and a space for Tevye’s milk cart . There is inspired use of projections for several scenes (eg inside the tavern , the snow scene at the train station for Tevye and Hodel , various places around the village etc ).Costumes are appropriately of the era. Chris Bamford’s choreography was tight and exuberantly performed. It included circle dances, some Russian folk dance steps , traditional Jewish dances and social dances of the period and some showbiz/Broadway style moments.
Adam Scicluna has a terrific time as Tevye the milkman, who acts as Everyman and narrator .He is charismatic and in scene stealing excellent form and terrific voice , performing with great gusto. His deliciously daydreaming If I Were A Rich Man stops the show. A leader of the community he is a kind but strict husband and father, a humble yet honourable man caught up in enforced changes beyond his control. He also has a special relationship with his God,talking to Him and at times questioning his ( Tevye’s) faith.
As Tevye’s wife Golde Charmaine Gibbs was a splendid,caring matriarch giving a strong performance and in terrific voice.
Adrian Espulso was delightful as Motel, the mild-mannered tailor who introduces a sewing machine to the village and has the thrilled Miracle of Miracles to sing.
Veronica Clavijo (Tzeitel), Emilie Davila (Hodel) and Isabella McIntosh (Chava) were solid and impressive throughout, enormously supportive, with Davila determinedly vibrant in Far From the Home I Love. As the prosperous town butcher Lazar Wolfe who hopes to make a perfect match Paul Adderley was splendid. Cathy Boyle as Yente the village matchmaker gave a dynamic performance.
Tradition, tradition …. A most stirring revival of this much loved show.
Director Colin Peet Musical Director Peter Sampson Choreographer Chris Bamford CAST LIST TEVYE Adam Scicluna GOLDE Charmaine Gibbs YENTE Cathy Boyle TZEITEL Veronica Clavijo HODEL Emilie Davila CHAVA Isabella McIntosh* SHPRINTZE Alyssa Bishara BIELKE Aashlyn Myers MOTEL KAMZOIL Adrian Espulso PERCHIK Tim Wotherspoon FYEDKA Oliver Becroft LAZAR WOLF Paul Adderley GRANDMA TZEITEL Ana Lawford FRUMA-SARAH Taylor Carlson SHANDEL Cheryl O'Brien MORDCHA Greg Werner RABBI Malcolm Gregory CONSTABLE Neil Litchfield AVRAM Alan Rosengarten YUSSEL Ray Dubber NAHUM David Joseph HORSE Dean McGrath MULE Michael Norris MENDEL Daniel Simpson FIDDLER Mia Fernandez SASHA Daniel Rae COMMISAR/TENOR John Morrison PRIEST Harald Strtzenberger SOLDIER 1 Oliver Becroft SOLDIER 2 Charles Brammall DAUGHTER 7 Georgia Stanton DAUGHTER 8 Jade Schofeild** DAUGHTER 9 Mia Fernandez Book Joseph Stein Music Jerry Bock Lyrics Sheldon Harnick Licensed exclusively by Music Theatre International (Australasia) All performance materials supplied by Hal Leonard Australia