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The Community of Hungerford Theatre Company - Fiddler on the Roof

20th to 23rd February 2013.

Review from Mark Lillycrop.

The John O’Gaunt School provided a lively venue for this year’s Hungerford Town Show production of Fiddler on the Roof, and the warm welcome from front of house dispelled the freezing conditions outside.

Fiddler on the Roof has long been one of my favourite musicals, with its rich blend of Jewish humour and pathos set against a backdrop of political change in Tsarist Russia. In the lead role of Tevye – impoverished milkman, community leader and father of five girls – Paul Hyde was well cast and captured the character’s growing frustration with the conflict between his faith and his daughters’ feelings and ambitions. His powerful delivery of If I were a rich man was a delight. Charlotte Shanahan was excellent as his sharp-tongued long-suffering wife Golde, and there were strong performances from Hoffi Munt, Georgina Shanahan and Beth Buckland as elder daughters Tzeitel, Hodel and Chava respectively. I was particularly impressed with Georgina’s poignant performance of Far from the home I love just before she leaves the village to join Perchik (confidently played by Shaun Blake) in Siberia. Louise Nilsson captured the delightful character of Yente, the talkative matchmaker, really well and there were good supporting performances from Roger Burn as Lazar Wolf the butcher, Simon Pembroke as Motel with a rousing version of Wonder of wonders, and Roushka Westall as a particularly alarming Fruma Sarah.

Technically this was a very well managed production. David Clayton’s direction and Roushka Westall’s choreography made full use of the small stage, while Michael Thurgood’s set and lighting were simple but very effective. The small orchestra, under the baton of Jo Pollitt, provided an excellent accompaniment to the musical numbers; and although there were a few problems with sound in the early part of the show, there was a good balance between the band and performers.

Congratulations to a first class cast and company – I look forward to Hungerford’s next Town Show.