It won’t be easy, you’ll think it strange, when I try to explain how I feel……..
Evita opened last night at the newly refurbished Dominion Theatre in the West End. It was a glittering occasion, I was full of anticipation, after all Evita, in my opinion is one of the greatest musical theatre pieces of all time. I had seen it years ago and could not wait to see it again.
I must admit I am struggling as I write this, I did tweet last night when I came out that Madalena Alberto who plays the title role of Evita ‘sang her socks off’ which she did, however overall I felt that the production was very disappointing.
Evita has been on tour around the UK and has opened at for a limited 7 week run ending on November 1st with much of it’s touring cast. It tells the story of young Eva Duarte and her rise to notoriety as the mistress and then wife of Argentine President Juan Peron. She supports his through political challenges and becomes adored by the Argentine people until her early death from cancer aged only 33.
Unfortunately the whole show had a ‘touring’ feel to it. The Dominion Theatre is huge and this production of Evita struggled to fill it. I do realise that a show that is on for a mere 7 weeks but the cast rattled around a cavernous stage and although the choreography for the ensemble numbers was fantastic it was a little lost. A little more invested in the production would have made all the difference.
It is the supporting cast that saves the day in particular Ben Forster who played Magaldi, one of Eva’s stepping stones on her rise to fame and Sarah McNicholas as Peron’s Mistress both gave powerful performances.
Knowing the score of Evita fairly well, and having listened to the original concept album for most of the week I was confused by the edition of a new song by Evita shortly before her death ‘You must love me’. Unbeknown to me, it was added to the 1996 film and has been part of the stage show ever since. I didn’t feel that it added to the show at all, it dragged an already slow part of the show out even further.
The production lacked the passion and the heart that it has had in the past and relied to heavily on the iconic Lloyd Webber and Rice masterpieces to pull it through, unfortunately I came out of Evita feeling a little empty and although the tunes were whizzing around my head I couldn’t help wishing that I had managed to get tickets for the Miss Saigon Gala that was on the same night.
Still if you like a bit of nostalgia, fair enough, but if you are looking for something a bit more worthy of the West End, unfortunately I would recommend you would go elsewhere.