On Saturday evening April the 23rd, LC and I went along to the ‘Theatre Royal, Dumfries, Scotland’s oldest working theatre, to see the latest show from the Dumfries Musical Theatre Company (DMTC) ‘Fiddler on the Roof’. The Dumfries Musical Theatre Company (DMTC) was originally formed as the Dumfries Musical and Operatic Society (DMOS) in 1922, and changed its name at the beginning of 2008. The team at DMTC perform two productions a year, with the Spring production (usually the end of April) being put on at the Theatre Royal, Dumfries, and the Autumn show in the Brigend Theatre at the end of November.

This year’s spring production meant a return to the fully refurbished Theatre Royal, for the DMTC so they wanted to put on a very special show indeed.   Rehearsals began back in January and this ambitious production has required a great deal of hard work, enthusiasm and commitment from the whole company and it really does show when you see the performance on stage.

It was fantastic to arrive at the  Theatre Royal , we were given an extremely warm welcome and politely pointed in the direction of our seats, which were in the stalls (downstairs area of the auditorium near the back exit). At the Theatre Royal  there are no bad seats in the house, every seat in the auditorium and balcony has a fantastic view of the stage, (which can’t be said for all large city theatres that cost a lot more per ticket).  The new seating was very comfortable indeed, and the theatre facilities including the toilets and bar and reception areas are spotlessly clean, modern and a credit to all that volunteer and work so hard to keep the theatre running.

This actually made me think to myself ‘How many of you, like me  have spent nearly £100 per head for a city theatre/show ticket, travelled and stayed overnight at a huge cost, then spent a fortune on programmes, drinks and ice creams? Although that is a fantastic treat and it is wonderful to get away to the city and enjoy a blockbusting theatre show, have you ever visited your local theatre and supported your local drama/theatre groups and spent money locally supporting the local economy and community? It also is a fantastic  treat, and you may just be blown away with the talent there is locally and the amazing shows that they put on in a theatre close to you!’

On that note I shall start my review of the show,  without going into too much depth about the story of Fiddler on the Roof, an emotional story about a Jewish community in a town called ‘Anatevka’ set during hard times in Russias past, the main heart of the story is set around one family headed by the star of the show Tevye the milk man , played by ‘Jack Hudson‘ (who has been a member of DMTC for 50 years this year and this  is the second time he has played this role, the first being in 1989).  The musical circles around the love stories of three of Tevye’s five daughters, and although three very different relationships, they all are connected by the changes in ‘tradition’ within the community and how times where changing for everyone (this actually made the story still very relevant and I can imagine any man in the audience who had daughters must have recognised  just how Tevye was feeling, and understood his reactions.)

The full cast of the show (and it was quite extensive ) all shone in different ways, the younger actors bringing youthful fun to the stage, and the older more experienced performers showing some brilliant timing and expression, none more so than local amateur  actress  Paula Neill  (by day Paula is NHS staff), who for me stole the show as ‘Yente’ the matchmaker,  a lady who everyone needs to be on the right side of in Anatevka if they want to be matched with someone they can be happy with for the rest of their life. Paula’s facial expressions on stage, comic timing, witty line recitals and cracking accent all help make her very believable indeed, infact I think every town and village across the country has a character like ‘Yente’ in them.)

I would also like to mention Rhona Davidson who played ‘Tzeitel’ Tevye’s eldest daughter, who had a brilliant singing voice and Myrna Rose and Emily Taylor who played her sisters Rose and Hodel, both girls really did put their hearts and souls into the parts.

Adam Pool who played ‘Motel’ a timed Taylor with his heart set on marrying his childhood sweetheart, was perfectly cast for his role, and rose to the challenge perfectly. Also Charlie Porter who had the role of ‘Perchik’ the teacher, deserves a mention for having the most convincing of accents and played her part tremendously.

The rest of the principals and cast all helped create a most enjoyable musical experience, and helped keep me gripped to my seat as I wanted to know exactly what happened right through the show.

A mention should also go the the  orchestra and the sound and lightening team and backstage crew who all make the experience complete.

Now I  never have claimed to being a professional reviewer or theatre critique, so what I write is just my own personal opinion and from the heart. If I  thought something was awful and rubbish I would not waste my time writing about it, and I found this production from the team at DMTC really worth writing about indeed.  One of the main things it made me realise was ….. why sit in on a Saturday night watching ‘Britain’s got Talent’  when you can be out there, seeing that Dumfries and Galloway has talent of it’s own by the theatre full.

The DMTC’s ‘Fiddler on the Roof’ is running at the Theatre Royal, Dumfries until the 30th of April , tickets are available by clicking here


Photos Copyright R.B Photography, Pictures exclusively for DGWGO use





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