Theater Review 88.
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Fiddler on the Roof
By Joseph Stein, Jerry Bock, Sheldon Harnick
Directed by Moshe Kepten
Translated by Dan Almagor
How do I praise thee? Let me count the ways. From its opening bars, this champagne Fiddler latches onto the eye, the ear, the mind and above all the heart. It's funny, poignant, finely acted, danced and sung, and exquisitely designed.
Roni Toren's ethereally solid set subtly evokes the vanished world of the Jewish shtetl that Olga Smorgonsky's costumes reinforce. Dennis Courtney's pulse-raising, foot-stomping choreography adds brilliance, and Yossi Ben Nun has a happy command of the music.
Yet Fiddler intimates more than its nostalgic, sometimes sentimentalized tribute to Jewish life in Eastern Europe in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, and from whence the authors' parents fled to America. The tales of Tevye, his five daughters and his little village of Anatevka is also the story of change, of transition, of history on the move. It is director Moshe Kepten's acute perception of that history that adds both substance and resonance to this production.
With all this, Natan Datner's ebullient, generous-souled, big-voiced, wryly ironic Tevye deserved the standing ovation he got on opening night. Ladles full of praise are also heaped on actors Rama Messinger, Tal Blankstein, Ido Mosseri, Hani Furstenberg, Sarit Vino-Elad and the rest of the talented, committed cast. A last-but-not-least huzzah goes to Dan Almagor's pitch-perfect witty translation.
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