Fiddler on the Roof at The Liverpool Everyman

Posted on 24 February 2017
By Chris High
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It may be 25 years since the Liverpool Everyman Theatre boasted its own, in-house Rep company, but with this new, vibrant, larger than life production of Fiddler on the Roof, it is as though it has never been away.

Packed to the rafters with zip and zeal, Gemma Bodinetz has reinvigorated the book by Joseph Stein, set in Anatevka, Imperial Russia, in 1905. With Tevye being made internationally famous by Topol in the 1971 film version and many other stage productions to boot, it is no mean task to don the overcoat and boots of the God whispering poor man.

However, with this said, Patrick Brennan makes more than a good fist of things. And not only can he sing, with his If I Were A Rich Man almost managing to send the theatre crashing to its foundations, such is the glory with which he builds to its shattering crescendo of a finish. The warmth, irritation, pride and compassion this Tevye demonstrates is that of a ‘real deal’ father, struggling to make ends meet, and made all the more three-dimensionally credible by a delightful combination of Brennan’s poise and Bodinetz’s lightness of touch.

The setting is intimate with the addition of further audience seating forcing – or thrusting – the famous stage into the round, thereby giving the public an all encompassing experience. And what and experience it proves to be, with each and every member of the cast – both older hands and debutants – clearly relishing this golden opportunity to shine in a similar light to that which was offered to their revered, Ev Rep predecessors.

The choreography, music and lighting enhance the moods to the nth degree, adding layers-upon- layers to the emotional contexts the plot offers, whilst also giving time for considerable amounts of reflection and contemplation as to whether what, if anything, has changed.

Special mention should also be mentioned of the costumes which, particularly during the expulsion scene near the climax, evoke a sense of deeply disturbing reality into the pain splashed painting being emboldened so beautifully before us.

It might have taken 25 years, but a very warm welcome back to The Everyman Repertory Theatre Company and hearty congratulations on raising the bar to even greater heights than that which was left suspended so long ago.

Fiddler on the Roof
The Liverpool Everyman Theatre
February 18 – March 11, 2017
Running Time: 3 hrs
Director: Gemma Bodinetz
Musical Director: George Francis
Choreography: Tom Jackson Greaves
Cast Includes: Richard Bremmer, Patrick Brennan, George Caple, Pauline Daniels, Laura Dos Santos, Emily Hughes, Tom Kanji, Asha Kingsley, Elliott Kingsley, Melanie La Barrie, Dean Nolan, Zelina Rebeiro, Keddy Sutton, Liam Tobin, Musicians: Elaine Booth, Matthew Heery, Alex Smith
PR RATING: ***** Rich

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