King’s Theatre, Glasgow
Until: Saturday 15th June 2013
Performance Reviewed: Tuesday 4th June 2013
Rating: * * * *
It is a big call to make as a theatre reviewer, to claim that a particular play is the best you have ever seen; but Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright’s Evita is just that: one of the best musical theatre performances I have ever seen.
Evita is well known and loved – a tale not only of tragedy, but of love; two loves to be exact. The love between Eva and Juan Perón and between Eva and the people of Argentina, the descamisados (“the shirtless ones”); members of the poorer classes from which Eva originates.
Madalena Alberto (Les Miserables; Fame; Chicago) is Eva Perón; a woman whose identity and reputation varied in the eyes of the beholder. Whilst Perón was a heroine amongst the lower classes, she was considered a destructive temptress and out of place by the upper classes.
Not only does Alberto work well with the ensemble to effectively portray this, but her overall performance is truly captivating. Her voice is powerful and unwavering and her delivery, intensely passionate.
Similarly, Marti Pellow (lead singer of Wet Wet Wet Chicago, Jekyll & Hyde) delivers the role of the antagonistic narrator, Che, with immense energy and charisma, coupled with an occasional cheeky smile and fervent character expressions.
Also deserving of a mention is Mark Heenehan (Kiss Me, Kate; Sweeney Todd) whose on-stage presence as Juan Perón complements that of Alberto by effectively accentuating the impact Eva had on the people of Argentina.
The set design is impressive, creating a series of environments of differing depths, atmosphere and character. Costumes include a lavish and elegant array of suits, dresses, uniforms and ball gowns, which not only complement but enhance the scenes.
Choreography is flawless and the actors work with the set at all times, utilising and maximising the space to successfully command a presence that is both convincing and captivating.
Dance routines punctuate the performance intermittently; delivered effortlessly and married with impressive lighting sequences injecting a high level of energy and excitement into the overall production.
Evita conjures up a veritable feast of emotions: ambition, excitement, love, power, hope, despair and heartbreak.
Iconic moments such as Eva’s delivery of “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” and her painful plea in “You Must Love Me,” are successfully brought to life with passion, emotion and energy.
Succinct and engaging, the calibre of acting, singing and overall entertainment on show is second to none.