REVIEW: Fiddler on the Roof at Chichester Festival Theatre

Omid Djalili in Fiddler on the Roof at Chichester Festival Theatre
Omid Djalili in Fiddler on the Roof at Chichester Festival Theatre
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I’ve not been too complimentary about the first season under the new creatives at Chichester – so I’m happy to say that Fiddler on the Roof is a cut above the rest.

It’s a visual joy: the lighting is beautiful, with the Sabbath Prayer looking like a Caravaggio painting, the wonderful muted colour-palette and the creative genius of the ever-changing setting.

The performance itself is curate’s egg-ish. The ensemble singing is shiver-making, particularly the wordless version of Anatevka at the end. Each harmony line can be heard, but the mix is superb. Top marks to musical director Tom Brady and his assistant, Gemma Hawkins.

Simbi Akande, Emma Kingston and Rose Shalloo as Tevye’s daughters don’t convince as a trio, but individually work a treat. Tracy-Ann Oberman makes for a good Jewish mother and Omid Djalili gives, frankly, the best If I Were A Rich Man that I’ve ever seen. He is a revelation as Tevye, moving easily through that character’s emotional journey, and never less than convincing.

Along with the principal cast, Louis Maskell as Perchick and Laura Tebbutt as Fruma Sarah are vocal highlights. The choreography – probably because of its being based in a single tradition – is very samey, and not always executed as efficiently as you might expect.

Until September 2.