Evita

A sumptuous production of one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most renowned musicals

 

Evita
Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, Dublin
****


This sumptuous production of one of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s most renowned musicals dishes up enough visual, aural and aesthetic nourishment so that Marti Pellow, despite his crimson T-shirt and cheesy grins, quickly becomes an easily ignorable fixture on stage.

Matthew Wright’s impressive stage design, featuring high-vaulted movable pillars, a wrought-iron balcony and large opaque portraits of the saintly Eva Perón, provides a sophisticated backdrop to the story of her rise and demise as a successful actress and wife of the Argentine president Juan Perón.

Madalena Alberto is enthralling in the title role, and is aptly petite at the burly side of Perón, who is played with ease by Mark Heenahan. The iconic couple are sensational in vocal flexibility, clarity and timbre, and their true facility for emotional counterpoint culminates in the poignant finale.

The show is satisfyingly symmetrical, and features brilliantly choreographed dance scenes by Bill Deamer. Under joint direction by Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright, a comical cafe trio, rhythmic military marches and haunting processions of prisoners and funeral mourners ensure that there is never a dull moment between the big hits in this two and a half hour production. The much-anticipated songs – including On This Night of a Thousand Stars , Don’t Cry for Me Argentina , and You Must Love Me – rightly own the highest emotive peaks, and Alberto manages to pack the greatest vocal punch from her deathbed as she sings herself out with enduring poise.

While the orchestral accompaniment is flawless under Matthew J Loughran’s baton, Marti Pellow’s mellow vocals teem with too much vibrato and, at times, lose the projection needed to catch all of Tim Rice’s wonderful lyrics.
Until Saturday

 

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