So finally, after the planning, the auditions, the announcement and the arrivals, the first Everyman Repertory Company in 25 years has taken centre stage at the Hope Street theatre.

Literally centre stage, as for the next six months the 14-strong cast is set to perform five shows in the round.

That鈥檚 quite a challenge, both for the directors and designers.

And it could just be that they鈥檝e opened with the most ambitious of the lot in this vibrant and visceral version of the multi-award winning Fiddler on the Roof.

It might not have been an obvious choice ?a musical set in Imperial Russia 1905 when Jewish communities like the one in its fictional Anatevka are the victim of prejudice and religious intolerance, forced to pack up and leave their homes.

But then of course it鈥檚 also a story which has resonances for a world coping with an ongoing refugee crisis in 2017.

Saying that, the parallels are there for the viewer themselves to draw, and don鈥檛 need spelling out visually on stage as they are in the closing moments of what is otherwise a terrific and inventive three hours of theatre.

Fiddler on the Roof may be set in a small village but it鈥檚 a big story with big characters, brought vividly to life here by the Rep players.

Patrick Brennan has a mountain of a role in Tevye, the penniless dairyman with five dowry-less daughters to marry off, struggling to maintain his cultural and religious traditions in the face of inexorable change.

Inevitably, the shadow of Topol hangs heavy over anyone taking on the part, but Brennan is brilliant, and a brilliant linchpin for the entire production.

Patrick Brennan as Tevye in Fiddler on the Roof at the Liverpool Everyman

He absolutely captures the role鈥檚 pathos and humour.

In fact there are a host of delightful performances, including Dean Nolan鈥檚 eager tailer Motel, Melanie La Barrie as Tevye鈥檚 long-suffering wife Golde, and newcomer Emily Hughes as Hodel.

Liverpudlian Hughes was the cast member who won a place through the open auditions for the company, and you can see why. She has a luminous stage presence.

Fiddler is a long show, but director Gemma Bodinetz keeps the pace bustling, and Tom Jackson Greaves鈥?busy choreography, executed with conviction by the cast and to the live music from the small on-stage band, fuels that energy.

Fiddler on the Roof at the Liverpool Everyman

It鈥檚 still early in the run and there are a few things which could be and no doubt will become slicker (although perversely, you don鈥檛 want it to feel too slick).

And there are one or two scenes where the production tries too hard to perform to all four corners of the room ?Matchmaker, Matchmaker for example would have more visual impact if the three sisters remained within touching distance rather than rushing hither and thither across the stage.

But these are minor quibbles in a production which is by turns funny, poignant, uplifting, atmospheric and moving.