Words by Sheldon Harnick and Music by Jerry Bock
Nuffield Theatre,
February 2009
Cast List
Lazar Wolf
Grandma Tzeitel
Constable (& Tevye understudy)
Russian Tenor
The Fiddler

Notes on this performance

110. Fiddler on the Roof                                    

Meanwhile, in Anatevka …

Unlike the early days, the Society now had an unwritten rule that it would change the Director after every production, but this was ignored for Fiddler on the Roof and David Tatnall was asked to continue – Martin Paterson rejoined him as MD to create a very experienced and enthusiastic directing team. There had been hopes of taking it to the Mayflower but the quote of £58000 to hire the theatre for a summer slot and the possibility of a professional tour of the show dampened the enthusiasm.

There were two particularly memorable aspects to this Fiddler. The company was a very large one (57 performers including seven DYT members to augment the sons and daughters plus a violinist) and when Tevye opened a door during the opening number, Tradition, they slowly entered in one long, seemingly never ending crocodile, bobbing to the music until they gradually filled the entire stage. The second was the set itself. Phil Moody had excelled himself in creating a detailed, atmospheric and believable representation of the village of Anatevka. 

Principal auditions were not just ‘open’, they were ‘freestyle’ with candidates encouraged to perform anything of their choice from the show. It was an interesting experiment but not necessarily helpful to the panel who did not always end up comparing like with like. The Rabbi proved difficult to cast until it was decided that it might be a good time for Philip de Grouchy to make his SOS comeback.

One major concern was the position of the band as, not only were they on stage, but they were also behind the back drop and out of sight of the singers. However, apart from one rendition of Too Life when it took a while for everyone to ‘get together’ the company coped without any other significant difficulties. The addition of the young men from DYT also meant that the more athletic dancing scenes were in safe hands, especially as Tom Vickers could actually dance in a true Cossack style!

The Echo reporter was favourably impressed: ‘Having created an atmosphere that bellies the many serious messages contained within, SOS manage to show they are having a good time and their delight infected the audience on opening night. In a first act full of Jewish tradition, poor Tevye (well portrayed by David Rayner) tries to find good matches for is daughters (Vicky Wilson, Annie Masters and Ellen Sly). The three girls were well complimented by their suitors (Andrew Burnish, Roger Lamb and Guy Passey). The set pieces – Sabbath Prayer, Wedding – were well handled by the company and the various soloists, especially Golde (April Leuscher). As traditions begin to break down in the second half, the mood changes and director, David Tatnall, achieved a good balance of hope and despair. The use of the extended stage helped deal with the large-number of scenes although the company may have benefited from a little more direction from a clearly visible conductor.’

Although it had snowed during the weekend prior to opening night, tickets had sold well and Fiddler on the Roof made an impressive profit of £4120.

Terry O'Farrell

Photo of Tevye

David Rayner (Tevye) in Anatevka

Photo of Lazar and Tevye

 Colin Sly (Lazar Wolf) and David Rayner (Tevye)

Photo of Middle Couple

Annie Masters (Hodel) and Roger Lamb (Perchik)

Photo of Fruma-Sara

Alison Vincent (Fruma-Sara) behind David Rayner (Tevye) and April Luescher (Golde)

Photo of Bottle Dance

The Bottle Dance - Luke Earley, Richard Peaty, Jason Brown, Tom Vickers

Photo of Tevye and Golde

David Rayner (Tevye) and April Luescher (Golde)