Mayflower Theatre, Southampton – until 21 January 2017
Guest reviewer: Sarah Miatt
The rags to riches story of Eva Peron charting her rise from poverty as a child to the first lady of Argentina has been wowing audiences worldwide since its conception in 1976. The musical written by the award winning duo Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber takes the audience through a rollercoaster of emotions and is as relevant now as it was when it was first written.
Visually the show was stunning. The set, whilst nothing new was used to perfection and was extremely effective, particularly the scenes on the, now, iconic balcony. The sound was excellent with every note and word heard clear as a bell. Special mentions must go to the fantastic orchestra who made many members of the audience jump out of their seats when playing the first notes to the beginning of Act 2 and the quite frankly stunning lighting that gave an extremely atmospheric quality to the whole show.
Particular highlights of the show itself were the members of the aristocracy and the military showing their thinly veiled hatred of Eva with some very appropriate and well executed choreography, the young girl from Stagecoach Salisbury who sang “Santa Evita” with a beautifully sweet and innocent voice and Oscar Balmasada as tango singer, Magaldi who was very humorous and sang with gusto.
Kevin Stephen-Jones as Juan Peron, the initially reluctant president and Eva’s husband, had a stunning baritone voice whilst relative newcomer, Gian Marco played Che with a somewhat cheeky quality but was suitably dramatic when required with a beautiful voice.
The show was led by Emma Hatton (fresh from playing Elphaba in Wicked) her voice was incredible. The audience was stunned by her innocent excitement in “Buenos Aires” to her emotional “Don’t Cry for me Argentina” and finally her heartbreaking “You Must Love Me” where her life comes to a tragic end.
While in no way a new production of this modern classic, Evita was extremely enjoyable and I would recommend anyone to go and see it.