Photo Credit: Stephen Vaughan
The Everyman Rep company have produced five shows, consisting of Fiddler on the Roof, The Sum, The Story Giant, The Conquest of the South Pole and Romeo and Juliet over the past few months. The Rep season runs from Thursday 8th June to Saturday 1st July allowing return visits to see favourite shows or catch up on the ones you might have missed first time round. I was lucky enough to catch Joseph Stein and Jerry Bock’s 1964 musical Fiddler on the Roof.
This delightful musical tells the tale of Tevye (Patrick Brennan) a poor Russian milkman and a father to 5 daughters who attempts to stay true to his Jewish religious and cultural traditions in an ever-changing world. Problems arise when 3 of his daughters want to marry for love, thus going against his wishes.
The production opens with a lone fiddler standing on a rooftop, as the cast of sixteen enter, George Francis’ orchestrations played by a four-piece klezmer band show what a big sound they can make in the opening number: Tradition. This is where we see Tom Jacksons Greaves’ choreography burst into action, an energetic performance that fills up the space. Very well thought out, especially the ‘the bottle dance’ at the wedding reception.
The stage movement in this production is sensational, particularly in Tevye’s dream. It was beautifully done with such care and was certainly an image that will stay with me for a long time.
This ensemble production gives everyone a chance to shine, however, there are certainly a few honourable mentions. Patrick Brennan steps into the shoes of Tevye and gives a heartwarming, captivating performance of a man who will do anything to protect his family yet must battle with the love he bears for his daughters and the mettle of his devout faith.
Dean Nolan as Motel was a wonderful injection of comedy in an otherwise serious storyline. The chemistry between the sisters was wonderful to watch. Vocally, it was Emily Hughes stole the show in the role of Hodel. Richard Bremmer as Lazar Wolf, a brilliant supporting role along with Pauline Daniels as Yente – the matchmaker is certainly a great watch.
Directed by Gemma Bondinetz, the artistic director of the Everyman/Playhouse, she had quite the challenge on her hands directing this production for theatre in the round. The cast of sixteen didn’t seem fazed at all. Each scene was laid out clearly to enable maximum vision for all, we were very close to the action, it felt like you were part of it.
While it is not the most well-sung version of Fiddler on the Roof you are likely to see, it certainly needn’t be, the cast portrayal of this timeless story will make you both laugh and cry in equal measure. It’s a fantastic show that the Everyman Rep should be proud of. A production, despite being set in early twentieth century Russia, that still feels especially relevant to today. A thought-provoking, moving and gritty piece of theatre that will capture the hearts of those lucky enough to see it. Don’t miss your chance.