For anyone who wasn't familiar with the story of Fiddler on the Roof, this set the tone for the evening nicely.
One by one all the hits like Matchmaker Matchmaker, If I Were a Rich Man, and Sunrise Sunset got much of the audience singing and moving in their seats in time to the music.
The scenic design (Steve Gilliam) was quite creative and detailed and gave an earthy believability to the action on stage. Large silhouette roof tops and trees moved in and out from the wings and overhead, setting the evolving seasons and balancing the three dimensional foreground.
John Preece brought the starring role of Tevye to life through action and song and a gentle like-ability which made him both relatable and sympathetic.
The enormity of the role was evident with Preece's character listed in almost every scene but that didn't seem to phase Preece as he glided through each scene with ease.
The show took a short intermission where the buzz was audible as many noted their favourite scenes. The stage lit up once again with endearing duets of Now I Have Everything and Do You Love Me.
Nancy Evans played Tevyye's wife Golde, moving easily from scene to scene bringing believability and a great sense of timing to the dialogue. Although she nailed the acting, it was the singing that felt a little jarred.
Her voice seemed shaky and strained, which is unusual given the list of musical accomplishments behind her name, but it may have had something to do with not being micd properly: at least that's what appeared to be the problem.
There was a noticeable hush as the audience leaned in to catch the whispered words.
The whole company participated in the Bottle Dance and the Wedding Dance with a few standouts that wowed the crowd with their prowess: clearly the highlight of the show.
Though Sammy Dallas Bayes reproduced the original choreography of Jerome Robbins, it goes as no small feat to set that to new stage design, venue, props, and cast. His direction should be mentioned as well. Bringing an entire house to its feat at the end of a show is quite the accomplishment.
Fiddler on the Roof is a grand mix of music, drama, comedy, dance, and romance: a timeless classic that is sure to entertain audiences for generations to come.