Fiddler on the Roof Reviews

CAODS – Fiddler on the Roof

Director – Ray Jeffery
Musical Director – Stuart Woolner

Performed at Civic Theatre, Chelmsford, February 25, 2010
Do you love me

The singing could not be faulted and the large cast, split between Papas. Mamas, Sons and Daughters, created a wonderful wall of sound that seemed very natural, with perhaps less need for amplification than usual. This allowed for an excellent balance between stage and orchestra, which meant that the orchestra was not intrusive and simply blended in. The movement of such a large cast was also good, with Tradition and Sunrise Sunset both being outstanding. The principals were well cast for acting age, compatibility and vocal skills. Tevye was superb with a resonant voice that sang beautifully but which also had a rumbling ethnic authenticity. His characterization was also excellent, providing a lightness of touch that generated plenty of humour but which also evoked enormous sadness. The humour came through without undermining the sensitivity of the “engagement” scenes and was most obvious after “The Dream”. The sadness at its extreme, provoking an almost unanimous audience grab for the Kleenex, was Tevye’s rejection of Chava. When Chava was dragged along the ground by Tevye’s cart the emotion was almost too much to bear.

Space does not allow much comment on the rest of the cast but Golde was a shrewish foil for Tevye and her handling of Chava’s disappearance and Tevye’s rejection of her was extremely good. Each of the three singing girls was strong and well cast as were their partners. Motel played the weedy tailor well and provided a strong contrast with the headstrong Perchik. Lazar Wolfe, Yente, Grandma Tzeitel and Fruma Sarah all completed a strong cast of major principals.

This was an excellent production that succeeded on the strength of its cast and theunderlying story. Who needs spectacle and stage trickery when the rest of the ingredients are in place?


Reviewer – Stewart Adkins

Fiddler's epic as magic as ever

03 October 2007
Woodford Operatic and Dramatic Society

CREAM OF THE CROP: Daryl Kane as Tevye the milkman

IT'S a perennial favourite that's been filling theatres for decades.

And Ilford turned out in force for Woodford Operatic and Dramatic Society's take on Fiddler on the Roof at the Kenneth More Theatre last week.

This production was blessed with a strong cast and the directing talents of Bill Edwards, who wisely shied away from the over-sentimentalising that has marred other local productions. Playing it straight and honest really worked - the story still sparkles and the pathos is very clear.

The scene is the small Russian village of Anatevka, the time 1905, as the last Tsar of all the Russias ratchets up the terror.

Daryl Kane was a great choice for Tevye, the wisecracking milkman who does daily verbal battles with his wife and five daughters - in between berating God for his poor finances.

Since Tevye is the lynchpin of this piece, it is vital to have a strong performer in the role and Daryl came up trumps - he made us believe he was Tevye and he sang beautifully.

You know from the way your Tevye sings Tradition soon after curtain-up how he will work out, and Daryl did a nicely judged version, not relying too much on the more famous performances of people like Topol. He made it his own.

Tevye's wife Golde was played with great charm and conviction by Bessie Lewin, but occasionally I wanted Bessie to break free of her innate English restraint, which sits uneasily with the towering personality (and occasional rage) of a character like Golde.

But it was a very likeable performance, as were those of Kerrie Game, Sasha Brenner and Sarah Prior as Tevye's older daughters Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava. They were all charming and very convincing in their roles and sang beautifully - Matchmaker, Matchmaker was a nice example of their combined talents.

Dawn Young made an excellent Yente, the matchmaker in question, and I enjoyed Terence Lovell's trembling performance as Motel, the poor tailor who woos and wins Tzeitel.

Callum McFadyen played the stridently socialist incomer Perchik with equal helpings of anger and tenderness - his scenes with the smitten Hodel were very touching.

Jason Markham was appropriately strident as wealthy butcher and loser in love Lazar Wolf, and Malcolm Woodfield made a splendid rabbi, doling out dollops of humour along with advice.

Martyn Stewart was good as Mendel and Tony O'Connell and Robert Brown were good as Avrahm and Nachum, while Ruth Freeman terrorised all and sundry as the ghost of Fruma-Sarah, Lazar Wolf's late wife.

Great scenery from Paul Lazell and Scene Change Studios enhanced the performance and Dave Palmer was responsible for the subtly effective lighting.

- SUE LEEMAN (Ilford Recorder)

Dartford Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society
Fiddler on the Roof
April 2007

WONDERFUL: Daryl Kane as Tevye
WONDERFUL: Daryl Kane as Tevye

ALTHOUGH If I Were a Rich Man is Fiddler on the Roof's most famous song, the general tone of the musical is far less exuberant and upbeat than that tune would suggest, writes Mark Campbell.

Written by Joseph Stein, with music and lyrics by Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick, Fiddler recreates an uneasy period in early 19th century Russia when peaceable Jewish communities were swept away by pogroms in the wake of Tsar Alexander II's murder by alleged Jewish assassins.

The people of Anatevka are trying to survive in these volatile conditions, led by dairyman Tevye whose amiable conversations with God contrast with his henpecked relationship with his wife.

Tevye's attempts to uphold the traditions of his faith and culture are challenged by his independently minded daughters: Tzeitel refuses her pre-arranged marriage with a middle-aged butcher, Hodel falls in love with a political activist and Chava elopes with a Russian soldier.

The story ends with a mixture of anxiety and optimism as the villagers leave Anatevka to begin new lives elsewhere.

Performed at the Orchard Theatre by the Dartford Amateur Operatic and Dramatic Society, Daryl Kane gave a wonderful central performance as Tevye, instilling his character with equal amounts of world-weariness and deprecating humour.  His accent was spot on and his singing note perfect.

Louise Hawkins, Amii Poole, Charlotte Hall, Katie Hutton and Darie Hall were excellent as his daughters, while Julia Bull, as his long-suffering wife Golde, displayed affection beneath the bluster, most notably in the haunting Do You Love Me?

As shy tailor Motel, Nick Shread's voice was a little weak, but this may have been due to the sound equipment. Matthew Kellett dominated the stage as the belligerent activist Perchik, especially during his vibrant rendition of Now I Have Everything.

It was a pity that the fiddler herself (Dawn Wood) didn't actually play the instrument in question, but her presence was always poignant.

Directed by Elisa Horne, this was a visually impressive production with backdrops reminiscent of Breugel.

The ending, with the cast walking slowly down through the audience and onto the stage, was very powerful

Southend ODS – Fiddler on the Roof – Nov. 2002

In a 1600 seater theatre, it is difficult to present a show that creates atmosphere and intimacy. But here, this is exactly what was achieved. 

I was delighted to record my view that this is probably the best show I have seen by this society

The direction and the choreography had been well conceived in the first instance but the execution was equally impressive. The set, which I had not seen before, was ideally suited for this stage (beware if you want it for somewhere with less facilities) and the stage revolve added to the presentation of it. It was bright and not the usual dingy colours and the costumes too were most appropriate. 

The characters were all well rehearsed and Tevye was quite outstanding.

By mentioning him does not, in any way, downgrade the others, who were all excellent in support. The one minor criticism I would offer up was that the Jewish accents were missing. One has grown to accept that Tevye and Golde, and perhaps some of the minor male characters, would attempt it. That was my only minor disappointment however and may have been missing due to directorial instruction.

The 18 piece orchestra was loud enough to hear the musicians expertise but never overpowering against the principals. That is no mean achievement in a theatre of this size, notwithstanding voice amplification. This was a 'tradition' to be proud of! 


Kind Regards

Leslie Judd

Mr L Judd

Region 10 Rep, NODA East.