Ten years on, but far from a Fish out of water

Kelso Opera. ' Fiddler on the Roof '.
Kelso Opera. ' Fiddler on the Roof '.

DIRECTOR Catherine Fish was treading the boards for the first time in a decade, while the talented Kelso Amateur Operatic Society and a heap of new youngsters brought fresh energy to a triumphant Fiddler on the Roof in the town’s Tait Hall on Tuesday evening.

Lead John Davidson is a tour de force as Tevye (Topol eat your heart out), while the assured Ms Fish steals scenes as matchmaker Yente. Young female leads – Katie Lynch, Ellie Barrie and Sophie Lynch – are fabulous, complemented by fine performances from beaus Ben Campbell, Tony Jackson and Lewis Sweeney-Slavin (watch out for the latter’s Cossack-type dancing).

Julie Dickson plays a bustling and melodic Golde, while jilted butcher Neil Thomson shines and constable Bruce Roberts is a suitably-impressive bruiser.

Show-stopping moments are the exhilarating inn scene where the male chorus sing their hearts out “To Life”, the opening of the dream when Davidson and Dickson turn in a hilarious performance and, well, most times the cast gets to sing together, “Tradition”, shaking the Tait Hall rafters.

And choreographer Marie Kay McCullough deserves a shout out for electric dances.

Speaking after the first night, Ms Fish said: “It seemed to go well. I got the impression from the audience they enjoyed it which is the reason we do it.

“Everybody works together and everyone pulled together – it’s a fantastic team.”

She praised in particular set designer Liz Hird: “Our set is our own. It’s just so beautifully done. We built the whole thing in one of our member’s (Neil Thomson) barn, took it apart and brought it on to the stage.”

She continued: “We have been very blessed this year by having more men.

“The pub (scene four) is a bit of a highlight of the show and we have been thrilled with the young girls who have come in this year as it’s sometimes difficult to attract young people.”

And she explained her return to the stage: “I don’t normally take a part, but for some reason none of the ladies would audition for Yente.

“The rest of the production team said, ‘Well, you’ll have to do it!’ I haven’t trod the boards for about 10 years: it’s quite fun to do it again.”