Æ Preview – SLO Fiddling on the King’s Roof

February 14, 2011 | By More

Southern Light Opera’s Fiddler on the Roof plays at the Edinburgh King’s

By Thom Dibdin

Southern Light Opera return to the King’s this week with their take on  one of the perennial favourites for amateur companies and musical fans alike, Fiddler on the Roof.

Originally produced on Broadway in 1964, the West End in 1967 and finally being filmed in 1971, the musical is based on Tevye and his Daughters by Sholem Aleichem. It is best remembered for Topol who has cast his shadow over the central role of Tevye, the milkman in the tiny Jewish village of Anatevka. It being Russia and 1905, Tevye and his fellow villagers stand to lose everything – their homes, freedom and even their beliefs.

Julie Howie as Tzeitel, Elaine Graham as Hodel, Christina Kirkaldie as Chava. Pic: Scott Parker Photography

It is a role which director Andy Johnston acknowledges is perhaps the greatest lead part that any actor can play in musical theatre. Tevye is hardly off the stage for the entire show and the part is a massive undertaking for any actor.

“We have been very lucky to land Lech Boron in the leading role,” says Johnson. “Lech’s performance is truly inspiring – he has brilliantly captured the humour within the role, whilst not forgetting the emotional core of the story. It is also a performance that moves the role out of the shadow of the mighty Topol, whose legendary performance on stage and in the movie has always been the benchmark.”

Boron heads a cast of over seventy performers who have been working on the show since last September. The 28 year-old, who is a Senior Web Application Developer during his time off from rehearsals, says he is looking forward to playing the celebrated role.

Lech Boron as Tevye. Pic: Scott Parker Photography

“This is certainly the biggest part I’ve played,” he says. “I have so much to do, but it will be a change not to be killed off before the end of the show. I’ve only ever played villains at the King’s!”

Johnston is returning to the King’s after directing the Edinburgh Gang Show 2010 there last November. He was also at the helm of the Billy Youth Theatre version of Billy Elliot The Musical at the Festival Theatre last May, which used singers from the Edinburgh Gang Show with the dancers of the Manor School of Ballet. And he isn’t about to let the darker edges of Fiddler on the Roof get to him.

“Fiddler is a show that has an undeserved reputation for being gloomy,” he explains. “Sure, there are some downbeat moments and some sad things happen – but it is no more miserable than Les Miserables! There are dramatic and emotional moments in all musicals – Billy Elliot The Musical, for instance is an emotional roller coaster – and Fiddler is no different. Within the script there are numerous uplifting and entertaining scenes.

“Indeed, the contrast between the joyous, happy scenes in Act 1 and the more emotional moments in Act 2 is what lifts this show out of the ordinary. Heartfelt expressions of happiness such as Miracle Of Miracles and the heart-rending Far From The Home I Love express either end of the spectrum and sit alongside classics of the genre such as the sublime If I Were A Rich Man and Sunrise, Sunset.”

Fiddler on the Roof is a show which is familiar to Johnston and the King’s theatre. The Bohemians lyric opera company performed it there in the Spring of 2001, when John Doonan took on the role of Tevye, and in 1979. Johnson was part of the Edinburgh Music Theatre production of 1994 and the Smycms production of 1998. Ironically, the latter show was directed by Laura Reed who is playing Golde in this new production.

Johnston, however, is only looking forward with relish to this new production. “It is a true sign of the versatility of the company that this show can showcase excellent actors, singers and dancers,” he says. “I am confident that this 2011 production of Fiddler On The Roof will sit alongside some of the great Southern Light shows of the past.”

Southern Light Opera’s production of Fiddler On The Roof plays at the King’s Theatre, Leven Street, Edinburgh, Sat 19 February 2011, 7.30pm (Sat 2.30pm and7.30pm).

Tickets from £10 available from the King’s Theatre box office 0131 529 6000.

King’s Theatre website: http://www.edtheatres.com/kings
Southern Light Opera website

ENDS

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