Evita is ambitious undertaking - but a great show
EVITA, by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, is one of the all time greats.
Featuring some of the most famous and inspiring stage music ever written, including the classic songs Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, On This Night of A Thousand Stars, Oh What A Circus, You Must Love Me, and Another Suitcase in Another Hall, this Taylorian production matched Eva Peron’s overwhelming ambition – and for an amateur company to take on the notoriously difficult holy grail of musicals was impressive.
Visually this production of Evita looks great.
The set was simple to allow for the large well-rehearsed cast who were not required to do much other than march and wave.
Evita is not a song and dance show. When the set needed to be big to show the power of the story, it became huge with a thick crowd, giant flags and banners that made an impressive display.
Evita is about massive ambition, greed and power and the simplicity of the set was a stark contrast to the true story of the whore who became Argentina’s First Lady by climbing over the bodies of, first, her many lovers, then the Argentinian people she practically blackmailed and murdered into supporting her.
The one professional on stage, Ali James, had made her Evita callous and ambitious and thus generated no warmth towards her character.
She was completely believable. Her voice was gorgeous in the lower register but shrill in the top notes, making the audience wince at times.
The famous balcony scene when she sang Don’t Cry for Me Argentina neared a travesty at the very end when she sounded dangerously like the Wicked Witch of the West.
Alex Toohey’s Che looked the part – high, wide and handsome but was not bitter or passionate enough as the character that relates the story.
He was far too admiring of Evita and seemed impressed by her rather than critical. His voice too suffered in the top register, straining at times.
Perhaps it’s the weather, this hideous dampness leaves all of us suffering.
Mike Bonner as Peron delivered a convincing performance, but was confusing as he was the only cast member who even attempted an Argentinian accent, which, knowing the meticulousness of Mr Bonner, was probably spot on.
But, as he was the lone voice, he was the one who sounded ‘off’.
Matt James was a beautifully slimy Magaldi, who, had he kept it in his pants the night he met Evita, may have changed history.
Highlight of the night was Georgia Maddocks’ stunningly beautiful rendition of Another Suitcase in Another Hall; she plays Peron’s schoolgirl mistress swiftly dispatched by Evita and it’s a shame her part meant she is on stage for such a short time.
This production shows a lot of promise and I was there on the first night where a few things went wrong, as they do. No performance should ever be judged on its first night and, knowing Matt ‘attention to detail’ James, things will undoubtedly improve for the remainder of the run. It’s a great show.
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Weather for Isle of Man
Sunday 19 May 2013
Temperature: 8 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 10 mph
Wind direction: East
Temperature: 9 C to 13 C
Wind Speed: 23 mph
Wind direction: North west