CLOKS’ amateur youth production of this occasionally dark musical had the accomplishment and maturity of a professional company.
One of the many pleasures of going to these excellent productions every year is watching individuals grow in confidence and ability – and this production demanded a particular depth of emotion from some of the principals which they all rose to with assurance.
The lead role of Tevye, a poor Jewish Russian milkman, was played with accomplished maturity by Calum Syrett, who brought humour and seriousness to the part.
He was well matched in Grace Evans’ playing of his wife Golde, an impatient, bossy but loving mother to their five daughters.
The latter of these, led by Emily Davis's strong, lively performance as eldest daughter Tzeitel and supported by the excellent Jemima Farey as Hodel and Otterly Farey as Chava.
They gave a delightful performance of ‘matchmaker’ as all three older girls fall in love with the wrong men and have to convince their father to permit non-traditional marriages.
On the evening I attended, Rachel Davis and Lily Farey – both performers to watch out for in coming years – were very good as the younger daughters.
As poor tailor Motel, Gabriel Swarbrick gave a good strong performance and Meg Rogers – shared role with Zoe Bond – provided a lovely cameo as Yente the matchmaker.
John Davis as Lazar the butcher also gave a good performance and Patrick Moran brought the right amount of idealism and romanticism to his role as young revolutionary Perchik.
All of these performers were excellent but it was the ensemble acting which really lifted the show – there was simple but tight choreography (Maria Farey) – everyone moved so well and easily around the stage.
There was tremendous singing (MD Jonathan Farey) and an enthusiasm and energy which just flooded the Guildhall.
I am not quite sure how Maria Farey manages this amazing feat year after year – bringing Chard’s young talent to the stage with such style and verve – but she has succeeded in establishing, arguably, the theatrical highlight of the year in this town.