If you’re travelling to London and you only have time to see one show in the West End, make it Fiddler on the Roof. Trevor Nunn’s rendition of this classic musical offers something for everyone, and is wildly entertaining and spectacular to look at.
The story follows a Jewish family living in a small village in Russia just before WWI. The father, Tevye, narrates and guides the story, following his five daughters as they seek love and balance old traditions in a changing world. The affection he feels for his daughters and wife seems to know no bounds, and while this emotion is truly heart-warming, outside influences create scenarios that will break your heart. Like the fiddler on the roof analogy Tevye uses, the performance reflects the balancing act of life, where ‘every one of us is a fiddler on the roof trying to scratch out a pleasant, simple tune without breaking his neck’.
Everything from the quaint village set design to the cool, soft lighting really transported you to another time. One of the highlights was the real working tap onstage that Tevye uses to wash his face. The costumes were fantastic as well, being plain and simple but made from fabric that flowed beautifully during movement.
A snippet of choreography that really stood out for me was a scene where both the Jewish villagers and Russian army were drinking in a pub. As the celebrations mount and everyone dances together, it was mesmerising to watch the contrast in dancing between the rigid and complicated Russian style and the merry Jewish style. How Russians used to master those complicated bounces and jumps back in the day is beyond me and my bleak dancing skills.
In all, the stunning aesthetics of the production, combined with flawless choreography and bellowing vocals create a spectacular show that grips you from beginning to end. The storyline will stay with you long after you’ve left the theatre as well, having just enough history blended with fiction to get you thinking. Fiddler on the Roof will be at the Playhouse Theatre until 2 Nov and you can grab tickets to see it here.
Images: Taken by Johan Persson, sourced from the Fiddler website