Freelance journalist with a passion for theatre, the arts, food and books.
Starsky and Hutch icon revives famous musical
Fiddler on the Roof is a musical with plenty of emotion. It is warm and funny but it also doesn't shy away from the brutality of anti-semitism and divided communities.
Essentially though, it is love and comedy at the core of this story about a traditional Jewish milkman trying to marry off his headstrong daughters.
While there are many escapades among the villagers and close shaves with the professional 'matchmaker', we see each of the daughters find their own way in life that is far from what their parents have in mind.
But as this tale is set in Russia in the early 1900s, there is also the heartbreaking backdrop of pogroms and brutality, which hit hard.
Fiddler on the Roof stars Paul Michael Glaser
In the lead role of milkman Tevye is American actor Paul Michael Glaser. Fans of Starsky and Hutch will remember him as the much younger, iconic figure of Starksy in the police TV show. He may be much older now but he still has the charm needed to win over the crowd.
He also has good foundations for the role as he starred in the Fiddler On The Roof movie as a young man, playing Perchik, one of the daughters' romantic interests.
With age, Glaser has now progressed on to the fatherly role and he is an enigmatic lead that quickly manages to endear himself to everyone. His singing is pretty good too, which is vital when you have such a vast selection of songs, some of which would lay bare any faults in the singer.
If I Were a Rich Man is probably the most famous of the tunes, but there are some lovely pieces elsewhere in the three hour show, including Matchmaker Matchmaker, Sunrise Sunset and, of course, Tradition. With a soundtrack like that it's no wonder this show was the longest running production on Broadway for over 13 years.
Even more special is that the actors are all also musicians who carry around their instruments - whether it's a clarinet, guitar or flute - and play to the songs while they sing and act. It works wonderfully well, but that's partly due to the talent of the small cast.
It is currently touring the UK and while I got the chance to see it at Birmingham Hippodrome, it is also stopping off in cities such as Sheffield, London, Truro and Eastbourne.
Directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood, the Strictly Come Dancing celebrity judge, the action cleverly takes place around the family's revolving wooden home.
Memorable songs made this musical a Broadway success
The choreography stands out during the scene in the inn, when events lead into a raucous night of dancing and drinking for the men in the village. There's some great dance moves achieved with bottles balanced on heads.
That is only eclipsed by the comical dream sequence in Tevye and his wife's bedroom featuring the whole cast as ghosts and apparitions. It brings many hearty laughs, plus some special effects.
There is plenty to love about this production and if you have seen the famed film, then you can be assured it lives up to it, but also adds a little bit more, due to it being a live theatre experience.
If you haven't seen this show before, then make sure you do because as musicals go, it's up there with the best.
Fiddler On The Roof
11 – 15 Mar
BIRMINGHAM Hippodrome 0844 338 5000
18 – 22 Mar
SHEFFIELD Lyceum Theatre 0114 249 6000
25 – 29 Mar
DARTFORD Orchard Theatre 01322 220000
1 – 5 Apr
LONDON New Wimbledon Theatre 0844 871 7646
7 – 12 Apr
TRURO Hall for Cornwall 01872 262466
15 – 19 Apr
SOUTHEND Cliffs Pavilion 01702 351135
22 – 26 Apr
NORTHAMPTON Royal & Derngate 01604 624811
6 – 10 May
EASTBOURNE Congress Theatre 01323 412000