Touring – reviewed at Palace Theatre, Manchester
Guest reviewer: Jeni Skirrow
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber have written some truly captivating, catchy musicals and Evita is of course iconic and no exception to this. An ever popular rags-to-riches type of story based on the life and demise of Eva Peron, wife of Argentine president, Juan Peron. The plot follows her rise to iconic status heralding her as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’, heroine of the Argentine people, and of course her untimely premature demise.
Straight from the West End, Manchester was privileged to be the first stop in the new twelve month tour of Bill Kenwright’s production. Eva Peron’s role is a demanding performance and Madalena Alberto is mesmerisingly magnificent, with not just unfalteringly consistent vocals, but how beautifully she captures the fledgling radio star’s glamour, seduction, hope and steely desperation. ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ is undoubtedly the most highly anticipated song in the show and Madalena’s performance did not fail to give me goose bumps- exquisite. “As for fortune and for fame, I never invited them in”… until the final curtain there’s something very dubious about this statement.
The narrator Che deserves a mention, heroic Gian Marco Schiaretti’s presence (and biceps) were relevantly foreboding and he is perfect for the role. His strong and versatile performance was a joy to watch.
Each scene was beautifully realised through expert choreography, cleverly slick staging and continual costume changes for Eva, telling a story within itself. This production was everything I hoped it would be and more. Emotional, beautiful and inspiring it was an ideal theatrical experience.
Evita is a moving story, with a mixture of up-beat, high intensity numbers as well as slower, more emotionally moving pieces. This balance and contrast makes it flow smoothly and provides a wonderful night out at the theatre. With beautiful music, great staging and fabulous performances all round, I implore you to get along to this show if you can.