by Dee Adcock
Mazel Tov on an SAOS triumph
CHEERFUL songs can be wonderful but only a sad song can be great. Is that, perhaps, a Jewish saying? Fiddler on the Roof is both wonderful and great and Salisbury Amateur Operatic Society preserves that tradition. Heartbreak is never far away and the poignant ending and somber curtain call add gravitas to a show that also brims with jollity.
The story of Tevye, impoverished milkman, is set against the bigger picture of a Jewish community in Russia where change and conflict are eroding old ways. Director Martyn Knight makes the most of the big past. Scenes are impressive in having so many people used to full effect – especially for candlelit Sabbath Prayer song and the mass of white-gloved hands moving and flowing in Tevye’s dream.
Geoff Heard plays Tevye, a role rich in gentle humour, sharp wit and famous songs – Tradition, If I Were a Rich Man – that call for a bold and charismatic singer. He doesn’t get everything out of his songs but his acting ability carries this Tevye and the audience loved him.
Women excel in this production, especially Jill Cocovini as Golde, Tevye’s wife and Dee Mansfield as Yente the Matchmaker. Both prove themselves capable of convincing acting and Golde – in the charming duet with Tevye of Do You Love Me? – is a fine singer too. Kathy Campbell has an exceptional voice, shown to good effect in Hodel’s lovely farewell solo, and the big numbers include a superb rendition of Sunrise Sunset.Costumes add impact with autumn colours and black in the shabby best of poor people, conveying hardship and endurance. Dance adds spirit to the show and it is rewarding to see so many men on the move. Sets adapt quickly, giving pace and smoothness and the orchestra is again first class.
The fun the people have and the cruelties of events that scatter them evoke laughter and sadness – tokens of a successful production.
Mazel Tov, SAOS. Mazel Tov!