Review: Fiddler On The Roof At The Everyman

Photo: Stephen Vaughan
by Andy Green WHEN I heard the first production by the new Everyman Rep Company was going to be Fiddler On The Roof I admit to being a little surprised. It’s a musical for a start and a very well-known and award-winning one at that. But then I remembered the story; people being displaced from their homes solely on the grounds of their race and religion. It’s more pertinent today than it’s ever been. The show starts with the whole cast on stage to perform ‘Tradition’ and I had goosebumps from the moment they opened their mouths – this was going to be something special. Patrick Brennan turns in a masterful performance in the huge role of Tevye, the father of five daughters, trying to hold onto his traditional values as the world changes around him. The whole cast is brilliant but Melanie La Barrie as Golde, Tevye’s world-weary wife, and Dean Nolan as Motel, the diffident but utterly charming tailor, also deserve a special mention – Nolan’s a big guy but he can’t half throw himself around the stage! Pauline Daniels as matchmaker Yente is also a delight to watch. The combination of Gemma Bodinetz’s direction, Tom Jackson Greaves choreography, music from a four-piece band led by George Francis and lighting by Aideen Malone make for a mesmerising performance. It’s funny, it’s boisterous, it’s poignant – it’s magnificent! This was an eagerly anticipated performance and it was definitely worth the wait. The rapturous standing ovation – a bit of a rarity on a press night – was thoroughly deserved and reduced some cast members (and reviewers) to tears. The Everyman Company has set the bar so high with this first production that one wonders how they are going to top it but, with the amount of talent in the ranks, I wouldn’t put it past them. Fiddler On The Roof is at the Everyman in Rep until 1 July. Go and see it!