Wednesday, 16 October 2013

FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (UK Tour) Review October 2013

Strictly Come Dancing judge Craig Revel Horwood received critical acclaim for his direction of Chess, a production that toured the UK throughout 2010/11 and made use of a cast of actor-musicians. This year, Fiddler On The Roof has been given a similar Horwood treatment. 

Actor-musicians, as the name suggests are not only actors but the band as well. The cast work incredibly hard at multi-tasking vocals and choreography to present a unique and contemporary production that would offer all the charm of the original - almost fifty years on. 

Leading the incredible cast is Paul Michael Glaser as Tevye. Glaser, who played Perchik in the 1971 film version is almost unrecognisable here from his Starsky & Hutch days. He opens the show introducing us to tradition, which throughout he learns to adapt. The story centres around dairyman Tevye - the papa. The father of five daughters, we see his attempts to maintain his family and religious traditions whilst outside influences encroach upon their lives. He must cope with both the strong willed actions of his three older daughters and each one's choice of husband moves further away from the customs of his faith and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their villages.

Paul Michael Glaser, Emily O'Keeffe, Liz Singleton and Claire Petzal

Although Tzeitel's relationship is the dominant story, each of the three elder daughters have plenty of time to showcase incredible talent. Karen Mann as Tevye's wife Golde provides both humour with occasional asides to the Almighty and tender moments in Do You Love Me? which exudes a genuine affinity. Susannah Van Den Berg's short spell as the butcher's wife from beyond the grave, Fruma-Sarah is one of the show's highlights - a commanding stage presence and a joy throughout. 

Susannah Van Den Berg as Fruma Sarah

Craig Revel Horwood's simplistic choreography has the perfect balance, from movement with instruments to traditional Jewish bottle dancing. Daniel Bolton, a recent graduate shows no inexperience as Fyedka - charming as the young Christian boy who falls for daughter Chava. Steven  Bor is a strong Perchik, the arrogant student and now guitar player! Jennifer Douglas is the mysterious but entirely captivating Fiddler. 

 Daniel Bolton as Fyedka (centre)

Act 1 is a lengthy 1 hour 40 minutes but time goes by in an instant. What I like about Fiddler On The Roof is that every new situation is dealt with immediately by Tevye and that helps keep a fast pace, there's a sense of urgency in these people's lives.  It's very real, easily relatable and the themes of love and loss are of equal relevance today than they would have been during its 1964 Broadway premiere.

Fiddler On The Roof is a blessing on your head Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov, to see a daughter wed, Mazel Tov, Mazel Tov... yes you'll be singing the songs long after! Tradition, Matchmaker, If I Were A Rich Man are all audience pleasers. The entire show is sung, danced and played live on stage by one of the most charismatic casts you'll see. You can book tickets to Fiddler On The Roof by visiting the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre website here. You can also listen to my interview with Paul Michael Glaser below!

Watch the show's trailer here:

Cast List: Paul Michael Glaser, Daniel Bolton, Steven Bor, Jennifer Douglas, Matthew James Hinchcliffe, Lilly Howard, Paul Kissaun, Liz Kitchen, Karen Mann, Tarek Merchant, Eamonn O'Dwyer, Emily O'Keeffe, Michael Paver, Claire Petzal, Neil Salvage, Liz Singleton, Jeff Smyth, Jon Trenchard, Susannah Van Den Berg, Ashley Pollitt, Javier Santos

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Interview with Paul Michael Glaser

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