By Chris Clark, Confederate Staff
In the small community of Holstein, the talent pool runs deep.
Holstein Drama Group has another hit on its hands, as it proudly presents the timeless “Fiddler on the Roof” over ten shows this month. Produced by Derek Aitken and deftly directed by Cindy Aitken, the production incorporates the talents of a cast of 40, and is a treat from the opening scene to the last.
Set in a small Jewish community in early 1900s Russia, the play follows the joys and tribulations of poor dairyman “Tevye” and his wife “Golde,” played by the husband and wife thespian tandem of Neil and Laurie Aitken.
Mr. Aitken is excellent and entirely at home in the lead role, and runs a full gamut of emotions as he balances the hardships of Czarist rule with the prospect of life, love and marriage among his daughters.
At its core, “Fiddler” deals with themes of maintaining tradition in the face of progress and change. From the elderly rabbi, played with comic timing by Andy Aitken, to the forward-thinking teacher “Perchik” played by Bryce Murph’Ariens, the story is about a community seeking balance in precarious times.
Mrs. Aitken allowed the cast to find their own roles, and the actors once in character, never waver. The casting is excellent, representing a true cross-section of the community, and the entire production has a warm family feel as it explores relationships and the bonds of family.
Anchoring the production is the music, delivered with professional aplomb by musical director Paul Eccles. The harmonies and well-known songs echo from the foot of the stage to the very rooftop, where Nick Misener perched as the title character. Be it quiet solo performances or numbers involving the full cast, the songs of “Fiddler” are both memorable and well performed.
The play truly offers a touch of everything for theatre fans, from dancing and action scenes, to plenty of comedy and tightly-written lines. The members of Holstein Drama Group, be it stage veteran or first-time actor, should be commended for a first-rate effort that is a joy to experience.
The show goes on all this week, with nightly 7:30 p.m. performances at the Optimist Community Centre in Holstein, followed by a 2:30 matinee on Sunday. Admission is $18 for adults, $12 for youth, and free for those under five. For tickets or more information, contact the Holstein General Store at 519-334-3310 or Uptown Entertainment Centre at 519-323-3327.