Women were being liberated, revolution was in the air and young people were speaking their minds, especially to their parents. All of this is reflected in the narrative about small-town milkman Tevye's travails in marrying his daughters off at the turn-of-the-century fag-end of the Czarist regime - if not always in Craig Revel Horwood's new production for the Music & Lyrics company in association with the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton.
The first half feels cartoonish, as a largely young cast try too hard to be funny where subtlety and depth are needed to make the humour really work. Things are on surer ground with the song and dance routines, which are delivered by a cast who play instruments on stage, an inventive and effective touch that is fast becoming a Music & Lyrics signature.
At the heart of the show is Paul Michael Glaser's turn as Tevye, in a performance that is full of warmth and generosity. It is the second half when things really kick in, however, as Tevye squares up to just how much the times are changing.
Beyond such serious intentions, it is love that wins out over ancient traditions and old divisions here, something best expressed by some fine singing and playing, not least from The Fiddler herself, played by Jennifer Douglas, in an entertainment that looks at progress, prejudice and the enforced emigration of a Jewish community forever in exile as they set out to build a brave new world.