Andrew Lloyd Webber & David Cullen (orchestrations)
Evita has something reasonably rare in musical theatre - a good story and more than one memorable song.
Add to that a cast whose diction allows you to follow the nuances of the story and you are more than half-way to a good night’s entertainment.
Emma Hatton, fresh from playing ‘Elphaba’ in Wicked in the West End, has the stage presence to carry the lead but Gian Marco Schiaretti deserved the roar of approval that greeted him at the finale.
Evita follows the story of an aspiring actress who will hitch her star to any man who will help her find power and glory.
It starts with her funeral and then traces how she moved from the casting couch to the top, to become a spiritual leader of the masses.
Although the second Act has the famous number ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’, I enjoyed Act One more with Che’s ‘Oh What A Circus’, Eva & Peron’s ‘I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You’ and the soon departed mistress Sarah O’Connor who gave an excellent rendering of ‘Another Suitcase Another Hall’.
The drama moves from her time in power, where she achieved some good works at home, to a mixed visit abroad where they found the English as welcoming as the Speaker of the House of Commons is planning to be to President Trump.
Back home, despite her popularity, the shine is coming off the golden couple and plans for Evita to become Vice-President are forgotten as cancer begins to take its toll.
It’s a serious dramatic piece, but the quality of music and lyrics makes this a good show even if it has few bells and whistles in terms of staging. Ironically, the up-tempo numbers in the bar started to drag for me, as I wanted it to get on with the story.
A strong cast with an exceptional ‘Che’ make this show worth catching.
Runs to Saturday 11 February, 7.30pm (2.30pm on Wednesday, Thursday & Saturday)