Playhouse theatre, London – 28 March 2019
Reviewed by Adam Craddock
Fiddler on the Roof’s heart-warming story of love and acceptance for all is a story as relative today as it was when the musical was first staged in 1964. The little town of Anatevka is a glorious setting for the piece and this tale of normal citizens being turned into homeless refugees feels eerily similar to what seems to be happening now in our own world, at least if some people got their own way.
The show follows Tevye, the lovable milkman in a tiny Russian village and takes us on the journey through a rather earth changing time in his life. His daughters are seeking marriage and independence, members of his community try to discredit him and even his own country now turns against him. This is the world which our protagonist lives in and in which we get to enjoy nearly three hours of heart warming joy, framed by its bitter conclusion.
Andy Nyman was exceptional as Tevye, bringing some excellent comedic work to the part, as well as a real guttural punch when it came to Tevye’s more turmoil filled scenes. This is a performance that I feel will go down with the best of Tevyes. Judy Kuhn was equally strong as Golde, showing us the strong but warm woman that you do not want to mess with in a fine class. Nicola Brown, Harriet Bunton and Molly Osborne were all strong as Chava, Hodel and Tzeitel respectively, although I do feel like the song Matchmaker was a bit lacklustre on the night, however this could also be attributed to the extremely low microphone volumes in this number. Stewart Clarke was fantastic as Perchik, bringing a real awe inspiring sense of idealism to this character and making you really want him to succeed in what he wants. This “smaller” part may have actually been my favourite performance in the entire show. Joshua Gannon was also strong as Motel, brilliantly showing the weedy and apologetic side to the character. Mathew Hawksley and Dermot Canavan also did well as Fyedka and Lazar Wolf respectively, doing as best as they could with the material they were given.
The scenic design of this show was absolutely stunning. Being sat in the stalls with the houses of Anatevka bulging out around you and the streets of the town running through the aisles you really were transported into this world and it made what could have been a long piece so much more rewarding. The choreography was as effective as ever, not being overly showy but doing what it needed to for the piece. The lighting design was exceptional and really set the mood, however the sound seemed a bit weak on the night, due to a couple of teething problems like peoples microphones not being switched on, although I am sure these will be sorted out straight away.
Altogether though, I thoroughly enjoyed my night at the theatre at this show, feeling truly immersed into the world of Fiddler and getting a real sense of warmth to all the characters. I would highly recommend this show to all people, see it quick before it shuts!