Eva Perón is considered one of the most significant women in history. Her short life was filled with adventure, passion and scandal, ultimately ending with her death at the young age of 33. Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s smash hit musical Evita encapsulates this phenomenal woman and tells the tale of how she came to be known as the ‘Spiritual Leader of the Nation.’ Evita is well known for its slick and enduring touring productions and this one was no different.
A solemn start to the production presents the scene where the death of Eva herself is announced to the Argentinean population. The scenery is exquisite as we are drawn in to her state funeral which serves as the first and last striking image the audience witnesses in this glorious show.
With any musical sung straight through it requires great vocal stamina and every member of the cast really stood their own. A seasoned Eva (Madalena Alberta) burst onto the stage with Buenos Aires as a bright eyed 15-year-old with an obvious lust for life. Alberta takes us through Eva Peron’s life as an actress right through to major political figure alongside her husband Peron.
No review of Evita can be written without the mention of its signature song Don’t Cry for Me Argentina. Madalena’s voice soared across the auditorium as she belted the anthem out; her passionate vocals and diction were perfection. Other highlights were Rainbow High and You Must Love Me.
Jeremy Secomb provides a perfect partnership with Alberta as they take on the fearsome power couple. Secomb approaches the role with a cold outset and as the show progresses you see his character come to life. During the Rainbow Tour Perón is firm in how his wife is the success and on eventually learning of his wife’s imminent fate, he gives a stellar performance.
The star turn comes from Gian Marco Schiaretti as Che. From the outset, the narrator of the show excels as he takes us through Eva’s life. Having played the role numerous times around the world he encompasses the character perfectly. His charm and wit really shine through on stage. Highlights included High Flying Adored and And the Money Kept Rolling In. This show really enables Schiaretti to display his versatility and I could watch him perform forever.
Special mentions must be given to Oscar Balmaseda (Magaldi) who dazzled in On This Night of a Thousand Stars, he displayed the humour of bringing a young starry-eyed Eva to Buenos Aires, and having no choice in the matter, perfectly. Cristina Hoey played the Mistress – a small role in the show – who is eventually thrown out when Juan Perón invites Eva to live with him. This moment provides the vehicle for Another Suitcase in Another Hall a glimpse into this mysterious character and her life. Hoey performed the piece with such flawless ability, she had us captivated and wanting to know more.
This production is dazzling and thoroughly deserved the standing ovation it received. From start to finish it delivers high energy and keeps the audience entranced in the action.
Evita plays at Birmingham Hippodrome until 24 March.
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