Fiddler on the Roof
Norwich Theatre Royal
This is a one-man show – but what a man! Mr Music, Paul Nicholas, dominates as the Jewish peasant, Tevye, who lives in Russia at the turn of the 20th century, in the role made famous by Topol. There are not many musicals that this popular performer hasn't appeared in, from Hair back in the 1960s to the original Cats plus Barnum, Grease and Jesus Christ Superstar, so you're in safe hands.
Sure, you see touches of Nicholas coming through – the cheeky smile, the twinkling eyes – and you are reminded of his most famous role as the loveable rogue Vince in the hit TV series, Just Good Friends. But it merely adds a little humour to this straight-forward production which is one of the few musicals around that actually boasts a credible plot.
It kicks off with the best three numbers – Tradition, Matchmaker and If I Were A Rich Man – and relies on Nicholas and his experience and inherent charisma to maintain pace and interest. There's a bit of dancing and you can feel Nicholas just dying to kick up his heels a bit more, which would have added a touch more spice.
But you leave feeling good – entertained and uplifted. The show's theme is change and progression, a break from the past, and ends with a look to the future. In modern parlance, you're advised “make the best of it”, so not much changes!
t Fiddler on the Roof continues until July 19, box office 01603 630000.