WITHAM Amateur Operatic Society are performing a show which is not very often presented by local societies. Fiddler on the Roof was a great success in New York and London in the 1960s and to judge from the reaction of the first night audience, will be a success at the Public Hall Witham all this week.
The show is set in pre-Revolutionary Russia. The plot concerns the attempts of a village milkman Tevye to find husbands for his five daughters. The traditional Jewish families require a matchmaker to arrange the marriages but a revolutionary student from the big town comes and upsets tradition.
Tevye, the part made famous by Topol, is very well played by Nicholas Clough. He has a larger than life stage presence, a fine voice and a good sense of timing for his many witty lines. His wife Golde, played by Pat Briggs, is the traditional Yiddish mamma who tries to resist change. She has some good scenes with the garrulous match-maker, Yente, played by Lydia Clough.
Betty Blower is excellent when it comes to handling large crowds. Once again the dancing, especially by the men, was a feature of a Witham production. It was an imaginatively produced show and the lighting deserves special mention.
The musical is rather slow moving and much of the humour would be appreciated by a more cosmopolitan audience. Love overcomes tradition when the bubbly eldest daughter played by Kathryn Adkins marries the frail impoverished tailor. Mike Hemstedt was the thoroughly convincing young man whose aim in life is to own a sewing machine. The next two eldest daughters also get married against the wishes of their parents. Cathy Swann is a sincere strong willed Hodel who marries the student, played by Stewart Adkins, exiled to Siberia. The sparkling eyed Chava, played by Lucy Sheppard, is shunned by her parents after marrying a Christian played by Don Potson. The show ends on a sad note when all the villagers are driven away by a pogrom.
Brian Brown as musical director has produced some fine singing especially from the chorus. The Chelmsford Sinfonietta handled the orchestration well. It has many unusual harmonies and complemented the singing.
Cast: Nicholas Clough, Pat Briggs, Kathryn Adkins, Cathy Swann, Lucy Sheppard, Elizabeth Ladd, Vicki Hall, Lydia Clough, Mick Hemstedt, Stewart Adkins, Derek Phillips, Geoff Coverdale, Tony Court, Tim Clarke, Danny Mullane, Tim Sheppard, Rita Page, Patsy Doy, Peter Eyre, Don Patson, Edna Starling, John Thistlewaite.
Chorus: Alyson Cox, Janice Hawkes, Cynthia Meek, Ann Marsden, Susan Page, Joyce
Ryder, Pam Reid, Annr Sheppard, Roberta Taylor, Elizabeth Watson, Helen Collins,
Muriel Chambers, Amanda Fitch, Joanne Swan, Kathryn Buckley, Helene Jones, Nicola
Jones, John Slade, Tim Sheppard, David Bebb, Doug Coleman.
Production: Stage manager Audrey King, assistant stage manager Derek Hunt, Lighting Robin Dedman, stage crew Les King, David Hunt, John Reed, Mark Tinworth, Bruce Mann, Props mistress Ann Hunt, assisted by Dot Reed, NataIie Hawkes, Helen Clark, Chris Farmer, Emma
Priest, Andrew Lager tabs Phillip Harris, prompt Mandy Smith, wardrobe Helene Jones
and Jo Wood, make-up June Smith and Margaret Jex, front of house John Gunson, accompanists in rehearsal Peter Humphrey and Jill Parkin.