Review – Fiddler on the Roof

 Seen: 11 February 2016
Theatre: Princess Theatre, Melbourne
Cast: Anthony Warlow, Teagan Wouters, Monica Swayne, Jessica Vickers, Madeline Perrone, Sara Reed, Blake Bowden, Andrew Kroenert, Jensen Overend, Sara Grenfell, Derek Taylor, Prue Bell, Jared Bryan, Zoe Coppenger, Zach Curran, Mark Doggett, Matt Douglass Brett Fisher, David Hammond, Glen Hogstrom, Jennifer Peers, Matthew Predney, Annie Stanford, Darren Tyler and David Whitney.
Gene: Musical
Rating: 9 / 10

Synopsis
The story centres on Tevye, the father of five daughters, and his attempts to maintain his Jewish religious and cultural traditions as outside influences encroach upon the family’s lives. He must cope both with the strong-willed actions of his three older daughters, who wish to marry for love – each one’s choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith – and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from their village.

Review (warning spoilers)
A great birthday present saw me attending a presentation of Fiddler on the Roof. An amazing story with an interesting story that stands the test of time. A traditional community, and in particular a father, deals with rapid changes in society and from his daughters breaking those traditions.

This issues is seen in all conservative religions and how they integrate, or don’t, in western societies. Anthony Warlow is magnificent as the lead character Tevye as he struggles with the changing world. While I hadn’t seen Fiddler in the Roof I quickly realised I had experienced the songs in one form of another once Anthony Warlow started with “If I Were a Rich Man”.

Tevye always tries to do the right thing and is happy enough with his life even if it is a struggle. Even when his first two oldest daughters Tzeitel (who wants to marry a poor tailor not the arrangement marriage to the rich butcher) and Hodel (who wants to marry Perchik who is poor and mixes in politics and a revolution outside of the village) make choices against tradition Tevye finds a way to agree as he talks to god / the audience.

Tevye can’t find a way to allow Chava marry the non-Jewish Fyedka but you can see the struggle in his words and actions. Eventually when things get their darkest and the Jewish community his expelled he makes a quiet “God be with you” to his estranged daughter who he had vowed never to speak to when she elopes against his wishes.

The undercurrent of racial hate in the background plays nicely along with a community that doesn’t want to integrate with the wider community. Unfortunately whenever a small community keeps to itself amongst a wider community human history tells us there will be problems, it’s a sad reflection on humanity.

Still I loved the performance and understand why the Fiddler on the Roof is such a beloved classic. I need to see more of this classics in live performances.

Recommendation: A must, see it whenever you get a chance.

Songs:

“Prologue: Tradition” – Tevye and the Company
“Matchmaker, Matchmaker” – Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava
“If I Were a Rich Man” – Tevye
“Sabbath Prayer” – Tevye, Golde and the Company
“To Life” – Tevye, Lazar Wolf and the Company
“Tevye’s Monologue” – Tevye
“Miracle of Miracles” – Motel
“Tevye’s Dream” – Tevye, Golde, Grandma Tzeitel, Fruma-Sarah and the Company
“Sunrise, Sunset” – Tevye, Golde, Perchik, Hodel and the Company
“The Bottle Dance” – Instrumental
“Entr’acte” – Orchestra
“Now I Have Everything” – Perchik and Hodel
“Tevye’s Rebuttal” – Tevye
“Do You Love Me?” – Tevye and Golde
“The Rumor/I Just Heard”§ – Yente and villagers
“Far From the Home I Love” – Hodel
“Chavaleh (Little Bird)” – Tevye
“Anatevka” – The Company

About Nathan

An Australian World traveler who has been fortunate enough to experience 56 countries so far. https://nathanburgessinsights.com/travel/
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