With the names Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber attached to the original scores, there are high expectations of the current tour of Evita and they are met on every level. Evita tells the real-life story of social climber, Eva Peron starting with her funeral announcement to the country of Argentina in the opening set at a theatre in Buenos Aires.
The story is narrated by Che, played skillfully by Glenn Carter, who informs the audience throughout the show settings the historical scene of the play, to the feel of the people of Argentina; He is engaging and a warmed to character in his own right throughout the musical, with his experience as an actor very apparent as he brings detail to the narration through not only the well-delivered songs, High Flying Adored and Santa Evita but his interaction with the main characters and audience alike.
Eva’s story of rising from poverty through her manipulation of the male characters for her own success is played by Lucy O’Byrne whose stand out moment of singing the well-recognised Don’t Cry for me Argentina left the audience silenced, in mesmerisation of the story. Eva’s rise to stage, radio and actress introduces character Magaldi, (Oscar Balmaseda , another top class performance) before her ultimate accolade of captivating Peron, played by Mike Sterling, to eventually become the First Lady of Argentina. Her social climb is personal and driven, with the outward perception of being totally giving of herself and charity driven for the people of Argentina although there are questionable antics shown along the way and social class and military disapproval of her throughout.
The supporting cast playing soldiers and aristocrats, to name the dance highlights of their roles, performed excellent dance routines capturing the drama and passion of Argentina and were West End quality throughout; having space on the impressive set they were precise and passionate as Argentinian dance should be.
Another stand out moment was from Cristina Hoey, playing Peron’s mistress, was her solo of Another Suitcase in Another Hall. Just brilliant….
The show closes where it starts, back at Eva’s funeral, having described Eva’s passion for wanting to be loved, her exploits to achieve that at all levels despite the cost at times.
This show is one of the most professional touring shows I have seen in recent times and left with me the same buzz as if I had walked out of a West End performance.
Reviewer: Julie Warwick
Evita is showing at Crawley, Hawth Theatre from Tuesday 18th September until Saturday 22nd.