'Powerful' production of Evita
THE musical Evita centres on the short life of Eva Peron. Her rags to riches story of an illegitimate model and actress who married Argentina's President and became the power behind the man, is an ideal subject for such a musical project.
She was adored by the people, and died of cancer at the age of 33 before anyone realised that she actually did very little for them, and that her grandiose schemes were unattainable promises.
In fact, it's more about the trappings of stardom and the cult of the celebrity.
The narrative line is held together by the character of Che Guevara, commenting on each stage of Eva's life. He eventually had to leave Argentina because of his opposition to the Perons, leading to his own legendary status in Castro's Cuba.
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There are only five specified roles. One of them, Peron's mistress, remains unnamed. Unceremoniously ousted by Eva, she has but five minutes on stage, but Carly Bawden in the role makes her mark with Another Suitcase In Another Hall.
So does James Waud as the gigolo singer Malgaldi, revelling in his sardonic Latin American On This Night Of A Thousand Stars, and equally unceremoniously dumped by Eva when he has served his purpose.
Mark Heenehan is chilling yet passionate as Peron, opportunistically riding on Eva's charisma as champion of the workers.
Seamus Cullen threads the plot as the unblinkered Che, scoring with his song The Money Keeps Rolling In, and in his waltz with Eva.
The pivotal role of 'Santa Evita' herself is portrayed by Rachael Wooding. She oozes a cold, manipulative glamour while epitomising the cat and dog fight between the haves and have-nots.
Neatly charting Eva's trajectory from spitfire teenager to grande dame and terminally ill shadow of her former self, she delivers her numbers as if penned for her.
A versatile ensemble, great instrumentalists, imaginative settings, and sensitive lighting add a final sheen to this powerful production.