Tuesday, 15 July 2014

Review: Evita (UK Tour) at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre



Evita (UK Tour)
Aylesbury Waterside Theatre
Reviewed on Monday 14th July 2014
★★★★

I certainly felt in the minority last night as I sat in my seat at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre to see Evita for the first time. I was surrounded by whispers of Elaine Paige and people boastfully stating how many times they saw Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical in London.

Marti Pellow & Madalena Alberto
I may have been about to see the show for the very first time but, as few pieces of theatre are more iconic than Evita, I had a strong idea as to what I could expect.

Centring around Eva Peron, the wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron, we see Eva's early life before she finds wealth and power. Eva becomes a public icon and is heralded as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’ by the Argentine people.

Evita famously begins with members of the public learning of Eva's death during an interrupted cinema screening. The piece takes you on quite a journey and as the show concludes you feel as if you have been taken along on every step of Eva’s life.

Mostly sung-through, Evita is certainly one of Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s finest scores. The melodies and lyrics are equally as moving and beautiful. Melodies are cleverly introduced and reprised appropriately throughout.

The majority of the score makes easy listing, Evita beholds many blissfully calming moments. However, Lloyd Webber and Rice certainly don’t shy away from pulling at the heartstrings either.

It's remarkable to see Madalena Alberto’s portrayal of Eva grow throughout the piece. Alberto's vocal technique is exquisite; the role may be a huge sing, but Alberto tackles the score fearlessly. As the second act began she graced the stage to give a glorious rendition of 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina'. 

Alberto proceeded to provide highlights with 'Rainbow High' and 'You Must Love Me', exposing both Eva's strength and vulnerability. Her performance in the second act raised the bar. Alberto stars opposite Marti Pellow as Che who narrates the piece and reflects the voice of the Argentine people. Pellow's performance brings mystery and highlights conflict.

A stand out performance also comes from Sarah McNicholas who steals the first act with a spellbinding rendition of 'Another Suitcase in Another Hall'. Evita has a surprisingly short running time, with each act lasting under an hour. The touring production is smooth. The set is simplistic but does its job and is perfectly adequate for a touring production. 

As the UK Tour of Evita comes to an end, the cast are currently preparing for the production's West End transfer. Evita is certainly a show which belongs in the West End; Madalena Alberto performs with all the charm, elegance, strength and confidence you could want from a West End leading lady. She will certainly be at home on-stage at the newly refurbished Dominion Theatre.

Reviewed by Andrew Tomlins (Editor)

Evita runs at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre until Saturday 19th July 2014. Please visit www.atgtickets.com for further information and tickets.

The production runs in Belgium between Tuesday 29th July and Sunday 10th August before transferring to the West End, opening at the Dominion Theatre on Monday 22nd September (previews from 16th September) for a limited season of 55 performances until Saturday 1st November 2014. Click here to book tickets.

Photo Credit: Keith Pattison

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