Theatre Review: Fiddler On The Roof – Princess Theatre, Melbourne (Performances through to February 27th)

Bright flashes beckoned us towards Melbourne’s Princess Theatre on Tuesday night as a myriad of celebrities sashayed along the red carpet. It was the opening night of Fiddler on the Roof and it seemed the entire city had come out to enjoy this long awaited spectacle. Long gowns brushed the floor, and champagne glasses clinked together as air kisses were received in greeting. The bell sounded and we made our way into the dimly lit theatre.

The cast was an impressive one with a good mixture of both celebrated performers and newcomers. Anthony Warlow stole the show with his portrayal of Tavye. I’ve been lucky enough to see Anthony in a variety of roles, and each time he blows me away with his commitment to his characters. A true musical theatre superstar. Sigrid Thornton shone as Golde, and had the fierce stage presence to match that of her strong willed character. Nicki Wendt was an audience favourite with her portrayal of the kookie matchmaker Yente. Her lines were delivered impeccably and often left the audience in hysterics.

Talented singer/songwriter Lior made his musical theatre debut playing Motel, the loveable Tailor. He delivered a stella performance and seemed right at home on the stage. Hopefully we see more of Lior as he makes a name for himself in the musical theatre scene. Apart from the performers, the sets must also be commended. The ingenious nature of their structure made it possible for the sets themselves to be pulled out and put back into the adjoining walls when necessary, a truly remarkable design and setup, kudos to the entire team.

As the performance continued and each song was met with both applause and jubilation, it became apparent just how loved ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ really is, and how deeply personal its themes are. It is a story not just about family and the changing of times, but also about upholding personal beliefs in the face of animosity. Whilst mostly humorous, there are undertones of sadness throughout that connect with the audience on so many levels. This is one of the many reasons the story has been so well loved, and has received much success on stage for over 55 years.

Much of its success is also due to the popularity of its well loved songs. A massive congratulations must go to the orchestra who created beautiful, flawless music throughout, and filled our hearts with the exultant harmony of the violin. Without the Orchestral sounds, ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ would cease to be as enticing as it is! Speaking of music, my absolute favourite scene would have to be the wedding dance. Traditional dancers balanced bottles on their head as they moved in unison in time with the beat, kicking out their legs from side to side with their upper bodies rigid. It was quite suspenseful to watch and was truly memorable. Creative choreography at its finest.

A truly brilliant performance by the entire cast that had the audience enthralled from the beginning to the very end. We laughed, we cried, we sung, we applauded, and most of all we had a an absolute blast. You truly cannot miss seeing this classic musical performed in all of its glory. Enjoy!

Fiddler on the Roof continues at the Princess Theatre in Melbourne until 27th February. For tickets and more details, head to: http://www.ticketmaster.com.au/Fiddler-On-the-Roof-tickets/artist/843989.

The reviewer attended the performance on 5th January 2016.