EVITA - the musical of Eva Perón, the Spiritual Leader of the Nation of Argentina celebrates it's 35th anniversary this year and after a Broadway revival last year is now touring it's 3rd UK tour within 5 years.
Similarly to Blood Brothers, we begin at the end of the story with the announcement of Eva Perón's death. A flashback to her early life then progresses through her rise to become the First Lady of Argentina and to the ultimate and tragic end.
Cynically assessing the immediate mourning of Argentina is Che Guevara - the Argentine Marxist revolutionary. Played in this production by Wet Wet Wet singer Marti Pellow. Che is a demanding sing and Pellow ploughs through the score with ease and holds a mightily impressive last note in 'And The Money Keeps Rolling In'. Mark Heenehan is an impressive Peron and Nic Gibney's impressive vocal range is evident in his few outbursts as Magaldi. One of the productions highlights is Sarah McNicholas as Peron's Mistress and her beautiful version of 'Another Suitcase In Another Hall'. A strong ensemble play a variety of roles - showcasing their versatility.
The show however belongs to Madalena Alberto who really does capture every moment of Perón's short life with effortless conviction. From the steamy and fast paced partying in Buenos Aires to the tender, fragile final moments upon her deathbed. Incredibly strong and stunning vocal throughout particularly her rendition of 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' received a rather loud "wow" from the lady next to me who then apologised for her uncontrollable outburst.
Mark Heenehan and Madalena Alberto
It's very difficult to fault this production but just one very distracting feature was the visibility of stage crew, complete with headsets moving Matthew Wright's stunning set of staircases around and clamping them into position. Surely there are slicker ways to do this, or disguise them. It reminds you that this is only a stage production, breaking the incredibly real situations the cast work so hard to create.
Applause at the end of a production is what you come to expect, regardless of its overall quality. For quite a while Evita received nothing but a stunned silence as the lights went out. Here the silence speaks louder than any appreciative applause, the tragic but simply beautiful ending does leave you a little choked. Although, I must admit I was the first one to break the silence with a clap!
With Marti Pellow and Madalena Alberto
Evita really is a breathtaking production that you should make a point of seeing for the sheer talent and effort from the entire cast and fine orchestra.
"So what happens now?" .... You book tickets, that's what happens. EVITA runs at the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre until Saturday 31st August and you can book tickets here. You can also read my interview with Marti Pellow here.
Watch ITVCentral News coverage with Marti and Madalena here:
World famous musical, Evita, arrives in Wolverhampton http://t.co/4UJtJOJcwO via @itvnews
— ITV News Central (@ITVCentral) August 20, 2013
Cast List: Marti Pellow, Madalena Alberto, Mark Heenehan, Sarah McNicholas, Nic Gibney, Hannah Grover, Verity Burgess, David Burilin, Joseph Connor, Natalie Day, Joel Elferink, Laura Emmitt, Emily Goodenough, Antony Hewitt, Stuart Maciver, Joe Maxwell, Perry O'Dea, Lizzie Ottley, Ryan Pidgen, Anthony Ray