For two weeks only Glasgow is being treated to superb performances of the iconic Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical Evita! A touring production that was last seen in Glasgow only two years ago, this show has not lost any of its sparkle and is drawing audiences from all over (at the Saturday evening show I was sat beside a group of English ladies and an American couple along side the usual Glasgow punters).
Based on real events, Evita tells the story of the bold young Eva Duarte who, determined to become a star, travels to Buenos Aires and begins her astonishing climb from the “sticks” to the powerful status of First Lady of Argentina. As Eva Peron, she dazzles and seduces the nation, make her one of the most loved – and hated – women of all time. No expense is spared to portray the contrasting lives of the young, lower class Eva and her extravagant lifestyle as she reaches the peak of her fame and power. The set, lighting and costumes are of excellent quality and as a fashion enthusiast, I thoroughly enjoyed admiring the 1940s fashionable glamour featured in the show, the climax of such glamour being successfully reached during the highly anticipated “Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina.” A finger must also be pointed to the lighting, designed by Mark Howett, complimenting both the performers and the set, dramatising some scenes and creating shivers in others.
Portuguese powerhouse Madalena Alberto stars as Evita, charming her audience and transporting us back in time to the days of Peronism. It is evident from the beginning of the show that Alberto is an extremely talented actress; her “Buenos Aires” contains so much energy and enthusiasm that it would simply be impossible to disbelieve anything that she says. One of many highlights of Alberto’s outstanding vocals would have to be “Rainbow High,” a song that challenges most performers and this one certainly showed no signs of being phased by the many challenges laid out in front of her as she tackles one of the most talked about roles in musical theatre. She is accompanied by Glaswegian Marti Pellow, the lead singer of band Wet Wet Wet. As Che, Pellow acts as the narrator of the show with amusing asides and entertaining antics. Whilst he may not be the strongest singer to take on the role of Che, Pellow puts his heart and soul into his performance and is embraced warmly by the Glasgow audience. Mark Heenehan once again reprises the role of Peron, one he has been playing on and off for the past seven years and is supported by two returnees, Nic Gibney as tango singer Magaldi and Sarah McNicholas as Peron’s young mistress, providing a beautiful version of the song “Another Suitcase in Another Hall.” The ensemble, like their predecessors in the 2011 Evita tour, are excellent, portraying both the descamisados and the oligarch with ease, their vocals and dance moves thrilling the audience.
Evita is a masterpiece, providing joy and jerking tears along the way. With a strong cast and an impressive production, this tour should not be missed!