Stand-out lead performance in Alban Arena’s Fiddler on the Roof
PUBLISHED: 09:00 29 April 2016
Think Fiddler on the Roof and you think Tevye - or if you are of an earlier generation Topol in the film version as the Jewish patriarch at the heart of the story.
But the audience at the Alban Arena this week are more likely to think of Stephen Wilks because of the brilliant performance he gives as Tevye, the father of five girls, three of whom shun arranged marriages for love.
St Albans Musical Theatre Company has made a good choice in putting on Fiddler on the Roof at the Alban Arena as its spring show because it has some inspiring lead roles, offers parts to members of all ages and makes full use of the live orchestra under the baton of Philip Joslin.
The upshot is a slick and professional show which demonstrates why director and choreographer Linda Dyne is in so much in demand from musical theatre companies across Herts.
Not only is the show well staged, well sung and well acted, but it has a couple of particularly memorable moments including a dream scene in which the widow of the man one of Tevye’s daughters was contracted to marry appears flying across the stage.
So Peter Pan eat your heart out because this was as good a use of wires as you could hope to see at the Arena and the whole sequence was excellent.
The role of Tevye is fundamental to the show and the company could not have made a better choice than Steve Wilks who has taken the part before in his 23 years of performing in Herts.
His rendition of If I Was A Rich Man, the pivotal song in the show, was riveting.
Steve’s voice is excellent and he dominated the stage every time he appeared, bringing a degree of professionalism which must have influenced many of the younger principals in the cast.
Matching him every time she appeared was Debby Connor as his wife Golde - and the duet Do You Love Me? sung by the couple was genuinely moving.
Looking to the future, every musical and theatre company needs bright young talent and that abounded with particular credit due to Cate Brooks, Emily Down and Emily Dell as Tevye’s three daughters - all fine of voice and with well-honed acting skills.
Special mention also has to go to Jane Foufas, chairman of St Albans Musical Theatre Company but back on stage in the role of the matchmaker Yente, and Clive Webb as Tzeital’s spurned prospective husband, Lazar Wolf.
Fiddler on the Roof runs until Saturday with performances at 7.45pm and an additional Saturday matinee at 2.30pm. But be warned, opening night on Tuesday saw the Arena almost full so don’t waste time before contacting the box office on 01727 844488 or online.