Durham Musical Theatre Company | Fiddler On The Roof Reviews


Fiddler On The Roof Reviews
31st March - 4th April 2009
Gala Theatre, Durham

Mayor and Mayoress of Durham
Mayor and Mayoress of Durham

Northern Echo 3rd April 2009

A THOROUGHLY enjoyable and laughter-packed evening lies in store for audiences of this impressive amateur production.

More than 40 years from its debut, Fiddler on the Roof, the Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick musical based on a book by Joseph Stein, still has much to say, exploring the generational tensions between tradition and change.

Set in the small Russian village of Anatevka shortly before the 1905 revolution, the plot follows the plight of the family of Tevye, a poor Jewish milkman. As modernity finally reaches his sleepy village and his people, Tevye tussles with his Jehovah over what he should do, and what he should allow his family to do.

Anthony Smith, in the lead role, superbly carries the production, engaging in a series of asides with his god, which are often hilarious, sometimes heartbreaking.

Delia McNally is a worthy adversary and occasional partner, playing his feisty wife Golde, while Audrey Robson as the traditional village matchmaker, Yente, is also a success.

The production is a visual triumph, with notably complex dream and Jewish Sabbath sequences impressively delivered, often making the Gala stage seem much larger – indeed taking in the entirety of Anatevka.

Casual musical theatre audiences will recognise songs such as Tradition, Matchmaker, Matchmaker, If I Were a Rich Man and Sunrise, Sunset, and all will enjoy this energetic, captivating show.

The Journal 2nd April 2009

YOUNG and old descended on the Gala Theatre in Durham last night as Fiddler on the Roof opened spectacularly to a full house.

This long-awaited production is the latest effort by the highly acclaimed Durham Musical Theatre Company, an amateur group celebrating its centenary this year. The thrilled audience was swept back to the world of Tsarist Russia in 1905, where Tevye, an impoverished milkman, is struggling to preserve the values of his traditional Jewish community.

Tevye watches bemused as his daughters marry against his will and his people live as outsiders under the persistent threat of racist violence. Director Fred Wharton explains: “The show becomes the story of this man – his relationships with his family, his people, his enemies and his God.”

While Fiddler on the Roof is a popular choice for both professional and amateur companies, it is rare to see it performed so well.

From the first moment, the audience was dazzled by the strength of the performances, notably that of Anthony Smith in the lead. There are too many others to name here apart from Audrey Robson, who also stole the show as Yente, the village matchmaker.

The ambition of the project was staggering. Its perfectly drilled and choreographed cast of more than 70 played every scene to the hilt.

Costumes and set gave the production an authentic feel that complemented its more serious themes and drew the audience into the drama.

Musical director Steven Hood brought Jerry Bock’s score to life with great ability. The greatest pleasure, however, was seeing members of the public pursuing music and drama to a professional standard. Let us hope the DMTC continues to work its magic for another 100 years.

Paddy Wells for The Journal

Cathy - An Audience Member

Hi, we came up to see the show all the way from Newmarket in Suffolk, which was my Christmas present from my daughter. I must admit I did think it was a long way to go (220 miles) but really wanted to see it so we made a little break of it.

I am so glad I did, what a fabulous performance! We live 60 miles from London so often see shows there. Quite often they move from London to Cambridge and we see a lot of shows there too. I have to say though, Fiddler on the Roof was by far the best I have ever seen. The cast was brilliant, the singing fabulous, wonderful dancing and special effects (Fruma Sara - brilliant!).

From the moment the curtain went up and Tevye started singing tradition I got goose pimples and a lump in my throat, it remained that way all through. It deserved a standing ovation, I cannot believe it did not get one. I would have stood up but I had two massive blisters on my heels so could barely walk.

There was so much effort put into the performance, it looked like the players enjoyed themselves and really threw themselves into their parts. I wish it was on for longer, I would bring my mother up by train as a good excuse to see it again.

Please pass this on, and thank the cast and staff, orchestra, behind the scenes etc for making the trip so very worthwhile. It will stay in our thoughts for a long time. Oscars all round! Kindest regards Cathy

Cherry - DMTC Supporter

Have just come home from the Gala and I just had to tell you straight away how marvellous the show was and Anthony was exceptional tonight and I have to say all your performances brought me to tears I have cried bucket loads tonight but it just shows how emotional the performance was and everything was spot on.

Best wishes from your friend Cherry (Karen Gallagher's and Rebecca Bartell's Gran)

John Cuckson - DMTC Cast Member

I have had extremely favourable reports from friends who have been - one is going back to see it again on Saturday (she enjoys our shows so much she always buys two tickets!).

Another, at the end of our conversation said "John, is there a trick with those bottles?". To which my response was "A trick? No! Of course not!" (Well, it was the 1st of April... I shall get found out of course...)

Barclays Bank Spread Eagle Club

I have had feedback about the show and have had nothing but praise from our members, (there were 43 of us there and the numbers appear to be growing each year). In fact one actually e'mailed me (Brian Murray) and his comment was as follows:

"Great show yesterday. About the 3rd time we have seen Fiddler and I thought yesterday was the best- amateur or professional."

A telephone call with our secretary of the Spread Eagle Club, Margaret Glendinning, thought the show was magnificent. She said "the singing, acting and scenery was top drawer." It was her first visit to the Gala and is looking forward to your future productions as we all are.

The Durham Musical Society productions is one of the most popular events on our annual calendar of events and you can be assured that we will continue to support you.

Thanks again for a wonderful day.

Regards Derrick Gurney

Fred Piggford - Area NODA Representative

Just a line to say thank you for the invitation to me to attend Fiddler and to say how very much I enjoyed it. I did talk to Fred after the show and told him that I thought it was the best production of Fiddler I had ever seen and that I thought his interpretation of ' The Sabbath Prayer' was fantastic.

I did ask him to pass on my sincere congratulations to all concerned on an excellent show but just in case he doesn't I would be grateful if you could do it for me please. Once again thanks for the invitation and I look forward to the next production.

Best regards

Fred Piggford

The Rotary Club

"Thoroughly enjoyed the show. It was excellent from start to final curtain. All the cast should be delighted with the magnificent production and pleased that their rehearsals and hard work resulted in a most professional performance.

Congratulations to them all."

Received from Mr McLoughlin of the Rotary Club

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