2015 – Fiddler on the Roof

NODA REVIEW – Trevor Guest

“Fiddler” is one of the all time great musicals and certainly one of my favourites. This production brought out all the pathos and humour in the small village of the Jewish community of Anatevka. The central role of Tevye, the local milkman, superbly played and sung by Andrew Bartlett, trying to scrape a living in the township with his wife of twenty five years Golde (Bronwen Carless) who is more than a match for Tevye. Their poignant duet “Do you love me” was lovely and touching.

Their five daughters were all very well played and determined to break with Tradition and marry their own choice of husband and not an arranged marriage by the local matchmaker Yente (a delightful cameo by Sylvia Craddock) . In the changing world keeping the faith and ancient Traditions was extremely difficult for Tevye as eldest daughter Tzeitel breaks with the old Traditions and marries Motel the village tailor. Second daughter Hodel falls in love with Perchik, a student visiting the village who is arrested in Kiev when he returns there to complete his studies. Hodel leaves home to be with him and Chava falls in love with Fyedka a Russian soldier thus stretching Tevyes faith in the Traditions even further to the point where he tells Golde that Chava is dead to us as she is cast aside by Tevye and leaves home to be with Fyedka .

The principals were all very well cast with an outstanding vocal from Cherril Watkins (Fruma-Sarah ) in the bedroom dream scene. The sadness is palpable at the Finale as the village inhabitants leave to find another place to live but still with humour from Tevye (Don’t forget the baby) as they leave to live in America. Orchestra, Stage crew, lighting and sound all contributed to the overall excellence of the performance.

Worcester News 20th March 2015

FIDDLER on the Roof is one of the finest, most moving, musical scripts that, once seen, will stay with you for the rest of your life.

With its haunting, vibrant music and thought-provoking, yet warm and genuinely funny dialogue it makes for a completely endearing show.
Great Witley Operatic Society are currently offering a fabulous interpretation of Fiddler at Worcester’s Swan Theatre and director Chris Love has done a fantastic job with the company who all deserve praise for taking on a show, which in some ways is their most ambitious.

The musical is set in the Ukranian ghetto of Anatevka. Henpecked husband Tevye, the dairyman, is constantly being challenged by his poverty, the prejudicial attitudes of non-Jews and his five headstrong daughters who want to marry for love rather than having the local matchmaker find them husbands.

The opening scene sees the Fiddler, Jo Chambers, sitting high up in the eaves of a peasant’s house. She starts to play that haunting melody which sends shivers down your spine.

The casting is great with Andrew Bartlett in the lead role as Tevye, giving an excellent performance in a very demanding part. He brings out the comedy, warmth and emotional anguish of the character and gives a powerful rendition of If I Were A Rich Man. Tevye and his wife Golde – played superbly by Bronwen Carless – have some delightful scenes, including the duet Do You Love Me.

The three marriageable daughters are outstandingly played by Christie-Laura Malpass (Tzeitel), Grace Moseley (Hodel) and Susannah Greenow (Chava). There is splendid singing by Grace, who is only 14 years old.

Special mention must go to Harry Ryan, who plays the poor but hardworking tailor Motel Kamzoil who loves, and later marries Tzeitel. His characterisation and singing are both excellent.

Cherril Watkins, who plays Fruma-Sarah, the ghost of Lazar Wolf’s departed wife in the show-stopping dream scene also deserves praise as does Lazar Wolfe (Andrew Rawle), Yente, the matchmaker (Sylvia Craddock) and Perchik (Matt Parkinson).

The simple, but effective set, is also impressive and the orchestra adds to a lovely evening’s entertainment. The show runs until Saturday, March 21.

Hello Richard

My colleague Trevor Guest will I am sure be in contact with you more formerly after our attendance at the Swan on Wednesday evening.
In the meantime on behalf of Karen and myself thank you for your hospitality and warm welcome. We both thoroughly the enjoyed the evening and a great show and please extend our good wishes to all involved for a successful week in the remaining performances.
Thanks again and look forward to seeing you again soon

Ian Cox


A word of “Thanks” for a very enjoyable evening at The Swan yesterday.
The performance of Fiddler On The Roof was thoroughly entertaining, absorbing and I keep thinking about it today.
Well done to all the cast, orchestra and support crew. Your performances are always great and this one was terrific!
We didn’t previously know anything about Fiddler On The Roof (apart from the most obvious part) and found the combination of humour dance and song with a hard hitting story quite unexpected – a brave move that worked superbly.
“Thanks All” again, see you next time.

Best wishes

Richard Marshall

Sir – Worcester for City of Culture?

Not sure about that but we went to the Swan Theatre for the first night of Great Witley Operatic Society presenting Fiddler On The Roof last night and it was a marvellous production.

The acting, singing and music were absolutely first rate and everyone was left at the end thinking that this was very much a topical subject with so many echoes in what is happening politically across the world today. Book your tickets, this is a must see.

Local theatre doesn’t get any better. Well done to all concerned.

Mike Finn

Sir I am beginning to think there must be something in Worcestershire’s water. How else am I able to explain the exceptional quality of all the amateur theatre productions I have seen this year?

Last night’s production of “Fiddler on the Roof” by Great Witley Operatic Society, at the Swan Theatre, maintained the tradition. This was a top quality show with a terrific cast.

To all you brilliant amateur thespians all I can say is keep drinking the water!

John Brady