Theatre Mirror Review>"Fiddler on Thed Roof"

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entire contents copyright 2015 by Tony Annicone

"Fiddler on The Roof"

Reviewed by Tony Annicone

Little Theatre of Fall River's fall musical is "Fiddler on the Roof." The show takes place in Tsarist Russia in 1905. It is about milkman Tevye, his wife Golde and his five daughters. He attempts to maintain his family and religious traditions while outside influences encroach upon their lives. He also must cope with the strong willed actions of his three eldest daughters, who wish to marry for love. Each one's choice of a husband moves further away from the customs of his faith and with the edict of the Tsar that evicts the Jews from the village. The original Broadway show opened in 1964, was nominated for ten Tony Awards, winning nine including Best musical, score, book, direction and choreography. It remains Broadway's sixteenth longest running show in history and was made into a very successful 1971 film adaptation. Director Paula Arruda gives the show the necessary energy and blends the comic and dramatic moments together splendidly. Dan Snizek supplies the musical direction to bring out the vocal quality of his talented cast and astounding orchestra. Bobby Perrry as choreographer creates some marvelous dances to entertain the audience. Their combined expertise wins them a thunderous standing ovation at the close of the show.

From the comic "If I Were a Rich Man" and "The Dream" sequence to the touching "Sabbath Prayer", "Sunrise, Sunset" and Anatevka", Paula knows how to mix the comedy and pathos to make you laugh heartily one minute and tug on your heartstrings the next. She creates many picture postcard moment and especially effective is the closing tableau complete with falling snow as Tevye and his family leave Anatevka forever. Dan taught all the beautiful harmonies especially in "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Anatevka." Bobby's dance numbers shine especially "Tradition", "Matchmaker", "To Life", "The Dream" and The Wedding Dance. Leading this huge cast is Gary Bigelow as Tevye. He brings not only comic timing to the role but the warmth it needs, too. His relationship with his wife and daughters is excellent in both the comic and dramatic moments. Gary's vocal prowess shines in his delivery of his numbers. He stops the show with "If I Were a Rich Man" rendition. His "Tradition" and duets with Golde including "Sabbath Prayer", "The Dream", "Sunrise, Sunset" and "Do I Love You" are outstanding, too. The poignant moments are during Hodel's song and with Chava in "Little Bird" will bring tears to your eyes as they did mine while the comic "To Life" and "The Dream" will have you rolling in the aisles.

Christine Roy as Golde has a lot of chemistry with Gary and stands out in this role. Tevye and Golde's adversarial relationship comes through and her admittance of love becomes more touching because of it. Christine displays her beautiful and strong voice in her duets with Gary. One of her funniest lines is when she yells at Tevye when he wants to see Motel's new sewing machine, saying she will faint later. Christine also displays Golde's dramatic side especially in the emotion packed Chava being disowned for marrying outside her faith. Tyler Lynn Tavares as Tzeital and Derek Carvalho as Motel shine in their roles as the eldest daughter and her true love. Her strong singing voice comes through in "Matchmaker" and her interactions with her sisters are topnotch, too. Derek is hilarious as the timid tailor who finally stands up to Tevye in his solo "Miracle of Miracles" where he displays his strong baritone voice. Holly Cardoza as Hodel and Michael Coehelo as Perchik do an awesome job with their roles. Holly's voice soars in "Matchmaker" and especially in the poignant and emotionally draining "Far From the Home I Love" the prettiest song in the show. Michael's tenor voice soars in "Now I Have Everything" one of the most difficult songs in the show. They display their dancing skills in the Wedding dance. Lilah Gendreau as Chava and Brian Barry Pereira as Fyedka also do a wonderful job in their roles. Lilah sings with Tyler and Holly in "Matchmaker" and gets to tug at your heartstrings during the Chava dance with them and lets the pathos pour across the footlights in her confrontation with Tevye scene. Barry's awesome tenor voice soars off the charts in the Russian section of "To Life" and he displays his strong dancing skills in this number. Also impressive are the acrobatic flips done by Cameron Decas during it and his dancing prowess in the bottle dance, too.

Two comic performers in this show are Erica Borges Vitelli as Fruma Sarah as she flies through the air during this number and Elle Gendreau as Grandma Tzeital. They are a hoot in the Dream scene when they convince Golde to let Tzeital marry Motel. Gary, Christine and the two of them are rewarded with gales of laughter at their clever antics. Another comic performer is Betty Texeira as Yente, the matchmaker who wins resounding laughter at her brilliantly delivered one liners. Dennis Robinson as Lazar Wolf sings "To Life" with Gary as Tevye and delivers the goods when he becomes irritated with him at the wedding. Frank Noble wins laughs as the elderly Rabbi while Dan Guay plays his son, Mendel. Dan also dances up a storm in the bottle dance. Ron Caisse as the Constable, is the villain of the show who throws them out of town. So for a superb rendition of the classic musical, "Fiddler on the Roof", be sure to catch Little Theatre's before time runs out. Tell them Tony sent you.

"Fiddler on The Roof" (15 - 18 October)
@ BCC, 777 Elsbree Street, FALL RIVER MA

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide