The UK touring production of Evita opened to a standing ovation as Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s hit musical proved as popular as ever with the audience at the Princess Theatre.
Evita describes the rise of Eva Peron from the lower classes to national icon, and is a highly successful staging of an interesting and often overlooked story.
In the lead role of Eva Peron, Madalena Alberto was outstanding. As in many Lloyd-Webber scores the vocal parts were often challenging: however Alberto took it all comfortably within her stride. She managed to strike a balance between softness and power within her voice, as well as portraying a convincing transition from a young, ambitious Eva to the charismatic and beloved Evita.
With the production moving to the West End for a limited run from September, Alberto certainly looks like a name to watch out for in the future.
Elsewhere Marti Pellow was highly energetic as Che; his characteristic tone was refreshing and suited the role very well while his characterisation was also excellent. Initially cynical of Evita’s impact on Argentina, Che narrates the rise of Peron from lower class Argentinian to First Lady and international icon.
Other performances which stood out were that of James Waud as Magaldi; his fantastic tone was showed off to perfection in the song ‘On this night of a thousand stars’. In addition Sarah McNicholas’ emotional rendition of ‘Another suitcase in another hall’ was a highlight of the first act.
The staging of the production was simple, however this aided the fast-moving nature of the performance. At times the speed with which the story progressed was breathless and this, combined with some show-stopping chorus numbers, made the first act in particular a real treat to watch.
As the first of a five- night run, a few teething problems such as delayed spotlighting will no doubt be resolved as the cast and crew adapt to a new venue.
This production was, however, one of the best that the Princess Theatre has hosted in many years and is certainly one not to be missed.