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March 16, 2005

Fiddler On The Roof

Margaret Johnson’s direction of Jerry Bock’s wonderful music, together with her versatile orchestra of two (a special mention here for 13-year-old Alice Trost playing the indispensable fiddle!), provided music ranging from the chilling to the joyful. The ensemble singing of ‘Tradition’ set the high standard from the opening. As well as being fine actors, the cast came together as a highly accomplished choir. This was combined with imaginative choreography providing constant movement and context and, in the wedding scene especially, humour and verve.

The versatile, stylish but simple approach to the scenery made the best possible use of the available space leaving the superb costumes and props to tell the story from a visual point of view, transforming the stage variously from wedding party to railway platform to the interior of Tevye’s family home. The use of lighting was ingenious, including the use of red lighting to isolate Tevye while he battled privately with his series of emotional dilemmas.

The thrilling dream sequence was another highlight. The unexpected appearance of the ghoulish figure of Fruma-Sarah rising up from behind the bedstead was extraordinary. This was yet another example of the limited technical resources available to an amateur group being overcome through imagination and ingenuity.

The response to the challenge was, therefore, a great success. The performance was fast-moving and riveting - at once serious and funny, moving and entertaining, tragic and hopeful. Ten years ago, my father, Geoff, finally found himself with the time to fulfil a long-standing ambition to produce some village theatre. I know that he was thrilled to discover that so many people were keen to get involved – some first-timers and some very experienced old hands - who were key to the success of those first productions. People of both categories were well represented in this latest show. ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ was a special favourite of his. Ours was the kind of household in which your father suddenly girating across the living room singing ‘If I were a rich man’ in full Topol mode was a risk you learnt to deal with. You just hoped that the new vicar hadn’t just come for tea! Though if they had, they were always charmed, of course.

The achievements of the Pirton Players have become increasingly remarkable over the last ten years. To have seen this first decade culminate in such an accomplished version of ‘Fiddler’ would have made him very proud and very happy.

[Review by: Tim Welch]

Director  -  Debbie Keating
Director  -  Michael Tackley
Musical Director - Margaret Johnson

Avram  -  John Epton
Bielke  -  Molly Kerswill
Bottle Dancer  -  Pavi Warwicker
Bottle Dancer  -  Dave Tinney
Bottle Dancer  -  John Burden
Boy  -  Daniel Eccles
Boy  -  Thomas Bostock
Chava  -  Katy Guess
Constable  -  John Newham
Fiddler  -  Paul Kerswill
Fruma-Sarah  -  Alison Gibbs
Fyedka  -  Neil Insull
Golde  -  Ruth Smith
Grandma Tzeitel  -  Valmai Guess
Hodel  -  Janet Tackley
Inn Keeper  -  Peter Johnson
Lazar Wolf  -  Tom Gammell
Mendel  -  Pavi Warwicker
Motel  -  Anthony Gordon
Perchick  -  Dave Woodward
Rabbi  -  Peter Otway
Reb Nahum  -  Paul Ribbans
Sacha  -  Graham Gibbs
Shandel  -  Lorna Sexton
Shprintze  -  Katherine Insull
Tevye  -  Anton Jungreuthmayer
Tzeitel  -  Juliet Alexander
Villager  -  Su Hayes
Villager  -  Dave Tinney
Villager  -  Mary Hearmon
Villager  -  Gena Edwards
Villager  -  Fizz Gibbs
Villager  -  Sophie Davies
Villager  -  Jan Simmons
Villager  -  Ann Fausset
Villager  -  Jill Rogers
Villager  -  Jilly Holland
Villager  -  Viv Tyler
Villager  -  Ann Langley
Villager  -  Hilda Handscombe
Villager  -  Rosie Eccles
Villager  -  Susie Welch
Yente  -  Sue Kennedy
Yussel  -  John Burden

Bass  -  Howard Etherington
Choreographer  -  Alison Hudson
Clarinet  -  Howard Etherington
Costumes  -  Vivienne Payne
Director  -  Debbie Keating
Director  -  Michael Tackley
Front of House Manager  -  Richard Eccles
Lighting  -  Derek Webb
Lighting  -  James Maple
Musical Director  -  Margaret Johnson
Producer  -  Neil Shearer
Programme Design  -  Anton Jungreuthmayer
Prompt  -  Joyce James
Props  -  Stella Turner
Props  -  Lucinda Rowe
Props Manager  -  Ed Picken
Rehearsal Refreshments  -  Kitty Howard
Set Construction  -  Dudley Gentle
Set Construction  -  Graham Gibbs
Set Construction  -  Jonathan Bhowmick
Set Construction  -  Penny Picken
Set Design  -  Anton Jungreuthmayer
Sound  -  Dave Wallace
Sound  -  Jon Shearer
Stage Crew  -  Ed Willis
Stage Crew  -  Gill Eades
Stage Crew  -  Val Bryant
Stage Crew  -  Dudley Gentle
Stage Manager  -  Brian Sommerville
Violin  -  Alice Trost

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