With the wife on a business trip, I took myself off to see 'Fiddler on the Roof' at the Savoy Theatre today. Whilst I've seen the film (which in turn was based on the show) - I'm not that familiar with it, and so it was as a new show to me. And what a Show.
The staging was simple, yet effective, with one central piece of scenery which was reused in many ways. Tevye (the role made famous by Zero Mostel, and later by Topol) was played by Henry Goodman, and he was the perfect Tevye, just the right amount of Yiddish charm... oh vey!
The show opens with a big number, 'Tradition' and carries on with a good mix of humour, music and tragedy. The famous 'If I were a Rich Man' is dispensed with in the second scene, with great relish by the leading man.
My favourite scenes were all probably in the first act - the second act is darker. I loved the wedding scenes, the arguments between Tevye and Lazar Wolf and the dancing was great. You can't go wrong with a bit of cossack thrown in! I also loved the Inn scene, where Lazar Wolf and Tevye have a misunderstanding about a meeting.
In the more tender moments, I would pick out Tevye and Golde's duet, 'Do You Love Me', which Henry Goodman (who looks nothing like his programme photo) injects with some lovely humorous touches.
Miriam Elwell-Sutton, who was understudying for Tzeitel was very good indeed, as was Alexandra Silber and Natasha Broomfield (Hodel and Chava).
Simon Delaney's Tom Lorcan's 'Motel' was very well pitched, I thought. He had a lovely sequence with Tevye, when he asks Tevye not to shout at him.
The flavour of the piece is maintained throughout, and the curtain call is done in the style of a yiddish dance, a lovely touch.
Comparing this to Lord of the Rings, which I saw on Thursday.... the Lord of the Rings has more of a 'wow' factor, but 'Fiddler on the Roof' is just so damned enjoyable, I'd say this is out in front by some margin.
I'd be interested to hear if you've seen this show, and have any thoughts upon it, if you're considering going (perhaps based on this post), or even if this post has put you off!