"Although much of the directing was a bit hackneyed and overdone, inspired lead performances really carried this show."
Fiddler On The Roof, a classic musical over 50 years old, is still a surprisingly engaging and relevant production in 2015. With its refreshingly unsubtle thematic exploration of tradition versus change, cultural repression and religious prejudice, it didn't take a lot of effort to rationalise why this remains an important and powerful text.
Unfortunately, the production itself lacked cohesion, and suffered somewhat from its own struggle of tradition versus change. There was a stunning modern set design contrasted against garish, over-saturated lighting; alongside this were amazing choreographic moments and excellent lead performances that clashed with often naff direction and plenty of "traditional musical theatre" acting from the ensemble. Accents were all over the place, vacillating between generic eastern European and impersonations of Fran Drescher/Linka from Captain Planet, all underscored by the unescapable Australian twang. And although much of the directing was a bit hackneyed and overdone, inspired lead performances really carried this show. Anthony Warlow was absolutely outstanding as Tevye — funny, clever, likeable, vocally flawless, and perhaps the best acting he's delivered to date. Along with Teagan Wouters, Monica Swayne, Lior, Mark Mitchell and Blake Bowden, there were some truly believable performances that distracted from the general overacting of the wider ensemble. All in all, a thoroughly entertaining and easily digestible theatre experience, and if you like your musicals then Warlow's Tevye is truly not to be missed.