In the late sixties my parents took me to London to see Fiddler on the Roof starring an unknown Jewish actor called Topol. It made a huge impression on me and I have never forgotten it.
I have seen the show several times since with different actors playing the leading character of Tevye the milkman but no-one has come anywhere near Topol or that original production until tonight.
Fiddler on the Roof directed and choreographed by Craig Revel Horwood of Strictly Come Dancing fame at Eastbourne’s Congress Theatre is one of the best shows I have seen for along time.
Playing Tevye is Paul Michael Glaser who became a household name when he played Starsky opposite David Soul in the television series Starsky and Hutch. He is really excellent in the role and has all the qualities I so admired in Topol. He is also very familiar with the musical as he played the student Perchik in the film version of the show.
This is an amazing production as there is no orchestra,the instruments are all played on stage by members of the cast but this does not detract from the show at all,it merely shows how talented all the actors are.
Karen Mann is well cast as Tevye’s wife Golde and she also plays the trumpet, guitar and glockenspiel.
Tevye and Golde have five daughters although the two youngest are provided by the local Stagecoach school in Eastbourne.
The three older ones are perfect in their roles with great singing voices and are played by Emily O’Keefe, Liz Singleton and Claire Petzal. Not only do they perform their roles well, they are all talented instrumentalists.
There is not a bad performance in the show and Diego Pitarch has designed an innovative set that changes by just opening the house up or turning it round. He has also designed great costumes.
The cast was given a well-deserved standing ovation at the end and the only disappointment is it is only in Eastbourne for a week, but we were so lucky to have it.
By Amanda Wilkins