Kelly Critic Review: 'Fiddler on the Roof,' Deer Lakes

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Imagine sitting, waiting and wondering what will unfold in front of your eyes. Questions race across your mind. What will it be like? Will I like it? Will the singing and dancing be good? Curtains open, it's show time at Deer Lakes with the performance of "Fiddler on the Roof." The scene is set. I focused in and traveled across the world and back in time.

The musical takes place in Anatevka, a small Russian town in the 1900s. Life was hard! It was hard to earn a living and to keep traditions, traditions. The focus is on a Jewish family. The father is a milkman named Tevye and he works hard to try to earn money to support his family. He has many daughters. His oldest, Tzeitel, is searching for a husband. The matchmaker, Yente, finds her one but she doesn't want to marry him. Her heart belongs to her best friend, Kamzoil.

The father must decide if he will break tradition and allow this. He sees the love in his daughter's eyes and breaks tradition and a promise. He has other daughters and must break many traditions while still being close to God. God guides him through each decision and helps him and his family through the hardships of life.

Some actors played their roles with enthusiasm. They became their characters and stayed in character throughout. It was great to see. Others were a bit lacking in playing the role. Emotion was not there the entire time. I wanted to see more emotion and I wanted to see the actors put their hearts into their performances.

The singing was decent. There wasn't a main voice or a voice that stood out completely. It was hard to hear the ensemble and to make out each word when it was singing, so I got lost in what was occurring. The dancing was lacking since there wasn't a lot of dance numbers to judge. The big dance numbers were a bit sloppy.

At times it was boring but at times it was entertaining too. It got a few laughs and chuckles from me.

The small stuff matters too. The set designs were pictures of different scenes so it was hard to be completely drawn into the production. It wasn't difficult to lose focus. The costumes fitted the time period and I felt that I could go back in time and see the same outfits in Russia. However you could tell the beards were fake from a mile away. Sound went fuzzy at moments, but then when doesn't it in a high school play?

The show did a good job in portraying the battle between honoring tradition and changing customs to fit society. Dealing with these lessons showed the audience a new way to look at life. The characters had to make difficult decisions on how they lived. They had to decide if they would do what they wanted to do or what everyone else wanted them to do. It gave a new perspective on life back then.

Curtains close, show is over. I take the story home with me and take the life lessons to use in my own life. I bet you would too. Time travel has ended and my plane lands back home. Glad I went . . . yes, but I'm longing for more emotion in this "Fiddler on the Roof."

"Fiddler" ran April 12-14.


The Kelly Critics is a joint program of the Post-Gazette and Pittsburgh CLO's Gene Kelly Awards for Excellence in High School Musicals, in which students at Kelly schools review musicals at other Kelly schools. Reviews are edited by senior theater critic Christopher Rawson.


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