FIDDLER ON THE ROOF
Trinity Methodist Music and Drama at the Civic Theatre
A real treat to have an actor/musician in the title role. Carrie Penn is a frequent presence in Eric Smart's heart-warming production: a silent witness on the side of the stage, perched on the milk cart, or reaching out a comforting hand to Tevye,
Another delight was the chorus: a real sense of the peasant community here, in the Sabbath Prayer, in Sunrise, Sunset, and, after a shaky start, in Lo Chaim.
Though the scene changes were bridged by music cues, they were all done under cover of darkness, and things generally seemed a little slow on opening night.
Plenty of good performances from the principals. David Slater, fighting “a stinking cold”, gave a larger-than-life Tevye, a good father, a good neighbour, talking with his God, chary of his wife Golde [Catherine Gregory]. His three elder daughters were all splendidly sung – and acted – by Beth Elam as Tzeitel, Emily Delves as Hodel – Far from the Home I Love wonderfully performed – and Nicola Myers as the bookish Chava.
Aaron Crowe was an engaging, eager Motel the Tailor, William Micklewright was Perchik, the stranger in a strange land, and Adam Pomozow brought a touch of authenticity to Fyedka, the gentile whom Chava loves.
And a lovely comedy cameo from Pat Hollingsworth as Yente the Matchmaker. Not to mention the sterling work from Shandel, Fruma-Sarah, the Butcher, the Bookseller, the Innkeeper and the Beggar.
But it's the ensembles that will stay in the mind, from Tradition to Anatevka and the emotional company encore at the end.
Julie Slater was the choreographer, Gerald Hindes the Musical Director, with an impressive band in the Civic pit, including two trumpets, an accordion and a mandolin.
photographs by Val Scott