Monday, October 29, 2007

"Fiddler on The Roof" - October 2007

After our success with musicals earlier this year I managed to twist Statler's arm and persuade him to tackle a more 'Traditional' one. So that made Glasgow Light Opera Club's 'Fiddler on the Roof' the obvious choice. Seeking strength in numbers this was a group outing, so I could always choose to not sit beside him as this was also our return to the King's after a long absence...

I'm a great fan of the film version of Fiddler, but I've never seen it performed live before. As you would expect from a light opera company the singing was the key here, and the songs all delivered. With some of my favourite musical numbers, there were a couple of moments where I had that spine tingling moment that shows you're really enjoying yourself - 'Sabbath Prayer' and 'Sunrise, Sunset' in particular hit that spot. J Campbell Kerr as Tevye gave the strong performance the part required, with Sandra Craig working well as his long-suffering wife Golde. Fiona Prior and Fiona Spear were good as Hodel and Chava but while Catherine Brannan-Usher as Tzeitel was strong vocally, her performance suffered for me as her accent on her speaking voice just pushed my buttons. The main characters were supported by a good ensemble.

A complex set brought in on wheels and bolted together during the scene changes, seemed largely unnecessary. The pace was slowed almost to a stop as the stagehands fought with the locking wheels, and bolting the parts together during every scene change. With something like Fiddler it's impossible to cut songs or play too much, however the changes in for the first 3 scenes were painful - was it really necessary to change the set from the Kitchen in Tevye's house, to the yard outside, then back in again? A sense of place could have been achieved more simply, and kept the flow going.

The dream sequence was obviously great fun for all the cast, and the audience too. However the wire work with Fruma-Sarah was just distracting for me, and took away from an otherwise effective scene.

Overall it was a good night for me with strong singing and music, and a musical that I love. Isn't that what theatre is meant to be about?

1 Heckle

Statler said...

As expected this turned out to be pretty much dead on my tolerance level for musical theatre, but managed to stay just the right side of the enjoyable/irritating divide.

To be fair, the positives were largely down to the cast (J Campbell Kerr's Tevye being particularly engaging) and the responsibility for negatives lay elsewhere.

Waldorf mentioned the problematic scene changes and there's really little excuse for what at times left me cringing.

The other issues I had were with the Kings and the rest of the audience - uncomfortable seats occupied by coughers, sweetie rustlers and weak bladdered people. And as for the way latecomers were allowed in during the middle of scenes - I mean come on it isn't as if there wasn't plenty of time for them to take seats during scene changes.

I could quite possibly be tempted back to a GLOC production, but I'm not sure I'll be so easily tempted back to the Kings.

One final comment, while enjoyable I'm not sure the ticket price represented great value for money.