On theatre

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Is there something about the London Palladium we don't know? It seems to be devoting itself to musicals about NJBs (Nice Jewish Boys). First there was Joseph. . . (who knew a thing or three about the garment trade) and now it's the turn of Fiddler on the Roof (with Topol, right). Meanwhile, the Barbican has been doing its bit for Christianity with last summer's revival of Godspell and the current production of Murder in the Cathedral.

In case you thought Jewish musicals were thin on the ground, don't forget Jerry Herman's Milk and Honey (currently being revived off-Broadway) and The Rothschilds, written by Fiddler creators Jerry Bock (music) and Sheldon Harnick (lyrics). Jesus Christ Superstar, a musical about a nice Jew(ish) boy, probably counts as a contender for both sides.

Fiddler, the show that did for peasant skirts what The Sound of Music did for the dirndl, is Bock and Harnick's calling card. It ran just short of eight years on Broadway and another four-and-a-half in London. Norman Jewison made a film of it which, at a touch over three hours, gave new meaning to the phrase From Here to Eternity.

This second London revival marks the return of the book musical. Spoken dialogue is back, and with Sara Kestelman playing Golde, it is likely to get serious delivery.

London Palladium: 071-494 5020

(Photograph omitted)

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