Arriving at The Edinburgh Playhouse to see Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita, I didn’t know what to expect other than hordes of swooning middle-aged women, there purely to see Marti Pellow take on the narrator role of Che.
The musical drama tells the story of Eva Peron (Madalena Alberto), the darling of 1940’s Argentina who used her beauty and charisma to rise from the Argentinian slums to become the one of the most powerful women in the world.
Audience-magnet Pellow appears to be comfortable onstage and does a good job of cynically narrating the story as ‘the voice of the people’, able to foresee the realities of what is actually happening before it does. His voice is good, not terrific, but his mannerisms and stage presence more than make up for it.
Alberto, on the other hand, is fantastic in the title role, displaying both strength and fragility in equal measure throughout. Like many of the other characters portrayed in the show, it isn’t clear exactly what she is thinking as her life progresses and the audience are left to make up their own minds about the late First Lady. Unsurprisingly, she shines brightest during a tone-perfect and emotional performance of Don’t Cry for me Argentina.
Evita is sung-through, which makes it vital that the score stands up and holds the audience’s attention. Luckily, it is strong enough to do so and interesting sets and choreography keep the audience immersed in the drama.
A thought-provoking drama that will leave you feeling both inspired and pessimistic.
Evita is currently touring the UK. For tickets and more information, visit www.kenwright.com