Theatre review: Sholom Aleichem, In The Old Country

This solo show deserves audience support says John Nathan


I worry slightly for Saul Reichlin’s one-man show of Sholom Aleichem stories. It runs for about a month at a little known Kentish Town pub theatre, though presumably only if the demand demands it. A month is a lot of seats in the theatre. Not that Reichlin doesn’t have and deserve a loyal following.

With only a jug of water and a samovar on stage for company the veteran actor tells Aleichem’s stories as the author himself , and with a wry smile and a good deal of charisma.

We are in the shtetl of Kasrilevke somewhere “on the western fringes of the Russian Empire” which Aleichem (born Solomon Rabinowitz) apparently visited while looking for material. He found plenty.  

Alecheim is a master of whimsical character studies - from the several extremely good sock sellers who visited Aleichem after he checked into the local “cheap and classy” hotel, to the man who explains how he became a milkman.

The latter is a gloriously crafted tale and Reichlin tells it beautifully. On it’s own it would make a lovely little companion piece to go with the forthcoming Menier Chocolate Factory production of Fiddler on the Roof starring Andy Nyman as the bearded dairyman. 

Reichlin as Aleichem being Tevye in a corner of the stage before the great wheels of Nunn’s production begin to turn. The perfect venue. 





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