REVIEW | Fiddler on the Roof, Curve Theatre.

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith.
Fiddler on the Roof
Curve Theatre, Leicester

Curve Theatre celebrates its 10th Anniversary this Autumn so it's only fitting they put on a showstopping production with their annual community production. It's the perfect way to show the community that Curve has built over the last 10 years and do it in a marvellous style. 

Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with over 50 years of history. Taken from folk tales by Yiddish revivalist writer Shalom Alichem, the story of Tevye the Dairyman and his Jewish village of Anatevka were the foundations from which Fiddler on the Roof came from. It was a musical that at first struggled to find a producer, however with the combined effort of Stephen Sondheim and Jerome Robbins became one of the most important works in American Theater. The story is set in 1905 Czert Russia and comes packed with a variety of hard-hitting topics. 

The musical focuses on Tevye's questions to slowly accept huge changes in his family and traditions from the Jewish community's way of living. There are deep questions about "home" and "love" that continue to draw you in but there's also great humour in there for good measure too. It's no surprise that Fiddler on the Roof almost feels like a classic musical, loved by many. 

At the centre is a story about true love and the real threat of removing a rooted Jewish culture from their home in Imperial Russia base Pale of Settlement. It's a true representation of the impact and how they deal with an enormous social change to their everyday way of living. 

There's the addition of the fiddler. In many productions of the Fiddler on the Roof has an image of a fiddler balancing on a roof. This comes from the paintings of Marc Chagall and indeed gave the show a significant influence on the design and the title of the production. The Fiddler is a metaphor for survival in a life of uncertainty, this aligns the uncertainty of the Jewish community.

Photo Credit: Pamela Raith
Photo Credit:Pamela Raith
So in this Curve Young Company and Community production, Fiddler on the Roof becomes a stunning masterpiece directed by Sarah Ingham and designed by Al Parkinson. The stage is completely transformed to a set that is constantly alive, they don't need fancy scenery to bring the era and community to life as the cast do that themselves. The basic structures are the basis of what we call "home". 

Curve's Head of Learning Melaine Knott does her best with recreating original choreography by Jerome Robbins, a production request for any production. It's a very large cast (of over one hundred) but the choreography is executed superbly and works well on the different bodies in the space. A massive shoutout to Leicester inclusive company, Sidekick Dance who was gorgeous to see up there on the Curve's stage. They were absolutely fantastic! The musical has a chest full of well-loved songs including 'Tradition', 'Matchmaker', 'If I Were A Rich Man' and more. They were all delivered with real heart and I was particularly drawn to the 'Sabbath Prayer' that illuminated the space with just the flicker of candles. 

The cast was incredibly talented and lead by Bill Hinds as Tevye. He played and sung in his role with a gorgeous level of strength and vulnerability, however at times it was difficult to hear his diction and he felt almost out of time with the music which was unfortunate for such a gorgeous performance. Bill Hinds does, however, play the comical side of his character with incredible timing and it suits him well. 

My favourite performance of the night was that from Matthew Deane who played the politically aware student Perchik. I found that he really brought the performance together with such an incredible performance. 

I did enjoy the performance of Fiddler on the Roof but as someone who knew very little of the musical, this wasn't my favourite community production. I found it really hard to hear the diction of both some of the songs and script throughout the show, almost overwhelmed by the sound of the music (others around me in the audience agreed too!). It shouldn't shy you away from watching a great celebration of community spirit and love in such an important year for Curve Theatre.

Fiddler on the Roof is performing at Curve Theatre, Leicester until 19 August. 

1 comment

  1. Ooh this was really interesting. I'm going to see this tomorrow. I, like you, am not too familiar with this one, but it's my grandad's favourite musical, so we'll see how it goes.

    Megan x