I love the music, have seen the film a number of times, play the songs on my clarinet and have always wished to see it on stage, so when I was asked to review Evita on Thursday I jumped at the chance.
This highly successful musical is the brain child of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, whose other collaborative works include Jesus Christ Superstarand Joseph and The Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat. Directed by Bill Kenwright and Bob Tomson, this version has been around for about the past decade but has returned to the West End to mark the 65th anniversary of the death of Eva Peron.
Evita follows the life of Eva Peron, the wife of Argentinian present Juan Peron. The story tells of her humble beginnings and her rise to power to be the ‘spiritual chief of the nation’. The musical touches on the social, politial and economic aspects of the time.
From the very first moments, the audience was mesmorised by the wonderful orchestra and the singing talents of the cast. The South American rhythms and forms convey the sharpness, energy and excitement and contrast beautifully with the quiter scores. When the familiar tunes we know and love, including ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’ and ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentinia’ played, all I could do was sing along silently, being transported through the music.
Emma Hattan conveyed the ambitions, wantonness and the flaws of Eva superbly. ‘You Must Love Me’ and ‘Lament’ are beautifully sung. Kevin Stephen-Jones displayed the two-sides of the soldier and the husband admirably. Gian Marco Schiaretti as Che played the role of the cynical narrator with wit and comedy. I was looking forward to the ‘Waltz for Eva and Che’ yet I was disappointed with the choerography.
The ensemble did a great job of portraying the ‘descamisados’ (ordinary people) who wish for workers rights, the snobby elite and the soldiers reaiatant to the Perons’ rise and other characters, with particular mention for the choerography displayed in ‘Peron’s Latest Flame’. The sets, made of columns and staircases, were simple but effective.
Evita is playing at the Phoenix Theatre for a srroctly limited 12 week season until 14th October 2017. Hurry and get your tickets so you ‘don’t cry’.
For now I’ll say ‘Goodnight and Thank You’.
written by Caitlin Neal
Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0JP
Friday 28 July to 14 October 2017
Monday – Saturday: 7:45pm;
Thursday Matinees: 3pm
Saturday Matinees: 4pm