Trevor Nunn’s incredible production of Fiddler on the Roof has just transferred over to the West End where it is being hosted at The Playhouse Theatre – after being extended! This is a production that left us in awe, and if we were to give it a rating, it would be five out of five stars!
Already marked in history, this musical by Jerry Brock, Sheldon Harnick and Joseph Stein is remembered for being at one point the longest running show on Broadway and is still one of the most produced musicals across the entire world.
The show is set in 1905, in Anatevka, a small shtetl of the Pale of Settlement – the only place where Jewish people were permitted to live in Imperial Russia. These communities lived in poverty and in constant fear of eviction. Fiddler on the Roof follows the story of Tevye and his wife Golde, who have been blessed with five daughters. They all need to be married off and their fate is put in the hands of Yente, the matchmaker. However, Tevye’s faith is tested as modernity takes over, and his eldest three insist on marrying for love.
One thing that the story does really well is capturing how faith is important within family and communities; especially within these persecuted people. Nunn has worked amazingly to show this in his production, and with a large cast you are engrossed into a large community that you feel a part of in no time at all.
The Playhouse has been reconfigured for Fiddler, with Robert Jones creating a creative set that sees the stage brought forward and extending out into the auditorium, with some occupants of boxes being part of the production. Despite the set feeling intimate, clever use of props and backdrops make it feel like the village goes on for as far as the eyes can see.
This production also offers a very strong cast. Andy Nyman is exceptional as Tevye, and alongside Judy Kuhn playing Golde, they make a pairing that is formidable and unbreakable. I would say, their duet of ‘Do You Love Me?’ is worth the entire ticket price just in itself.
Molly Osbourne, Harriet Bunton and Nicola Brown play the three eldest sisters and work wonderfully to put their own stamps on their characters. Stewart Clarke is incredible as the passionate Perchik and Joshua Gannon plays Motel in a beautifully endearing manner.
This is a production that is full of energy from start to finish; most likely due to the choreography of Matt Coll and Jerome Robbins. The traditional types of dancing are infused with a whole new passion and electricity of the emerging era. Despite the ongoing energy, the production is also very moving and is interlaced with some beautiful and stunning ballads.
Overall this is a production that deserves a standing ovation every single time. It is a show that is full of life, love, laughter and sorrow; but allows one to reflect on the importance of faith and understanding.