Ever since I have been interested in theatre, I have been fully aware that Evita has always been considered one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most famous musicals; I saw the production on tour back in late March. Now, the iconic musical has come home after touring across Britain to a limited seven week engagement at the Dominion Theatre, newly restored and refurbished. It seemed to be a fitting home for such a famous musical.
Evita follows the story of Eva Duarte Peron, the wife of Argentinian dictator Juan Peron, from her relationship with a tango singer to being the beloved of the people. Looking at this description on paper, it does not seem to be the likely subject for a musical, but the music and lyrics are so right that it makes the musical just work. I am still singing ‘What’s New Buenos Aires’ under my breath. From the emotional and heartfelt ‘Lament’ to the rousing Act One finale ‘A New Argentina’, it can easily be seen why the musical can be seen as so iconic, a label that is not given to a show lightly.
With such a rich story, you need to have a cast to do the show justice. The leading lady Madalena Alberto shines as Eva Peron, continuing on from the tour. She gradually transforms from the lively, vivacious fifteen year old wanting to see Buenos Aires, to the physically broken but still determined thirty-something Eva in the last moments of the show. Her voice is astounding, managing to captivate the audiences throughout.
Also continuing his role is Marti Pellow as Che, and had improved since seeing the show on tour. He was more confident, his voice stronger and overall far more comfortable in the skin of the character; there was undeniable chemistry between the two lead characters, as shown in ‘Waltz for Eva and Che’.
Together, they lead a strong cast, supported by Matthew Cammelle as Juan Peron, Ben Forster as Magaldi; the latter once again proving he is as versatile as ever. As for Cammelle, his Peron was reserved, stoic even, but the ambition of the character was still there. Vocals were strong all round, with a special mention to Sarah McNicholas, performing a heartbreakingly beautiful rendition of ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’ as Peron’s Mistress.
At the helm of the production are Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright, with almost all of the staging being translated from the tour to this production in the West End. The staging is slick, the choreography perfectly synchronised under Bill Deamer, and the overall design of the show by Matthew Wright is on point for the decades that the musical covers.
I do not think I could sing this show’s praises enough, and it is easy to see why it has had so many positive reviews from the press; if you had your doubts about the show, do not worry. This production maintains the reputation of the musical being emotional, sweeping and just as dazzling as Eva’s iconic white dress.
☆ ☆ ☆ ☆
Review by Sophie Bredbere
Dominion Theatre London
From 16th September 2014 for 55 performances only
Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.45pm
Matinees: Wednesday and Saturday 3.00pm