dfp_header_hidden_string

Get our free email newsletter with just one click

Fiddler on the Roof review at Playhouse Theatre, London – ‘an intimate and resonant revival’

Andy Nyman in Fiddler on the Roof at Playhouse Theatre, London. Photo: Johan Persson

Transferring to the West End from the Menier Chocolate Factory, Trevor Nunn’s faithful production of Bock, Harnick and Stein’s musical retains its sense of intimacy and pertinence.

Designer Robert Jones has made a shtetl of the reconfigured Playhouse Theatre. The small stage is crammed with rickety wooden houses and wintry trees. The set carries into the auditorium and a ramp curls through the stalls, allowing the audience to get up close to the inhabitants of Anatevka.

As put-upon milkman Tevye, Andy Nyman doesn’t have the most striking of singing voices, though he can let rip when he needs to, but he brings a winning mixture of warmth and weariness to the role. He creaks his way appealingly through If I Were a Rich Man and his eyes glitter with love for his daughters even when they’re a source of torment to him.

Judy Kuhn, as his wife Golde, is, if anything, even better – sharp but soft, her voice full of tenderness. Their duet on Do You Love Me? is delicate, moving and suffused with a sense of the shared affection that comes from spending 25 years in each other’s company.

Jerome Robbins’ choreography, recreated by Matt Cole, feels particularly thrilling in this small space; the scene in which the villagers end up in a whirling, wary, but eventually celebratory dance with the Russian cossacks is an energetic highlight.

While some of the playing is broad, Nunn’s production is rich and resonant, and the drawn-out last scene in which the villagers are forced out of their homes is as potent a reminder as there ever was that life is precarious.

Director Trevor Nunn: ‘Being derogatory about other people’s work is very ill-advised’

We need your help…

When you subscribe to The Stage, you’re investing in our journalism. And our journalism is invested in supporting theatre and the performing arts.

The Stage is a family business, operated by the same family since we were founded in 1880. We do not receive government funding. We are not owned by a large corporation. Our editorial is not dictated by ticket sales.

We are fully independent, but this means we rely on revenue from readers to survive.

Help us continue to report on great work across the UK, champion new talent and keep up our investigative journalism that holds the powerful to account. Your subscription helps ensure our journalism can continue.

Subscribers to The Stage get 10% off The Stage Tickets’ price
Verdict
Andy Nyman makes a warm, winning Tevye in Trevor Nunn's intimate and resonant revival
^