fauxklore (fauxklore) wrote,

Fiddler on the Roof

I saw the touring production of Fiddler on the Roof at the National Theatre last night. I was skeptical of Harvey Fierstein playing Tevye and, alas, my skepticism was justified. I think he's a talented performer, but his raspy voice is very distinctive and did not work at all for me in the role. There are a lot of points where Tevye is yelling at someone and Fierstein sounds less like an angry man than like somebody choking to death.

He's also not much of a dancer. Overall, the dancing was pretty weak. Sammy Dallas Bayes claims to have reproduced the original choreography by Jerome Robbins, but he missed the mark. For example, Frume Sarah came across entirely as comical, not the least bit menacing. And he had worked with Robbins, so I'm not sure how he managed such lifeless staging.

Speaking of lifeless, I was also greatly disappointed in Colby Foytik as Perchik. Some of the other performances were better. Susan Cella was fine as Golde and Mary Stout provided fine comic relief as Yente. But it was the story, not the performances, that had me crying my eyes out over Chava. Overall, this was a remarkably bland production.

I should also mention that the book, while funny, also highlighted for me how theatre has changed in the past 40+ years. The fear of being too ethnic was a real one back then. I don't think that's a problem in an era where the Puerto Ricans in "West Side Story" actually speak Spanish on stage. As a trivial example, a modern musical in Anatevka would have characters saying "Gut Shabbos," not "Good Sabbath."
Tags: musicals, theatre

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