Published on December 9th, 2018 | by Admin
Evita Review (Melbourne 2018), Evita the Musical
Summary: Evita the Musical is a lavish, emotional and well-produced theatre production that successfully brings the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice back to the forefront in Australia.
Celebrating it’s 40th birthday, the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice hit musical Evita has opened State Theatre in Melbourne which stars singer Tina Arena as the enigmatic Eva Perón who became the First Lady of Argentina. Evita cleverly tells the turbulent story of this much loved woman by the people of Argentina through music that saw her rise from poverty to become a singer and actress that eventually led her to become the wife of President Juan Perón. Unfortunately Evita Eva died from cancer at just 33-years of age which makes the song Don’t Cry for Me Argentina a very poignant one.
Supporting Tina Arena as Eva Perón is Paulo Szot as President Perón, Michael Falzon as singer Magaldi who helped Eva break into the entertainment industry and Kurt Kansley as the revolutionary Che Guevara who acts as the narrator for this story. Needless to say, all these actors capture these personas well, particularly Arena as Eva Perón who alludes this powerful female presence and Kansley as the sometimes amusing and challenging activist Che.
Add in Alexis Van Maanen as the mistress of President Perón who was thrown out of the palace by Eva Perón who shares a heartfelt song with the audience plus the impressive ensemble and director Harold Prince should be commended on the excellent cast of this interpretation of the hit musical. Evita also has a live orchestra with director Guy Simpson that complements the original well and when matched by the costumes, choreography, lighting plus the set and Evita is a riveting and spectacular from start to finish. Although the set is quite Spartan, there is some furniture used but the but the banners and giant TV screen really add the overall atmosphere of this musical.
The soul of Evita is the music which is still as relevant today as it was in 1978 that is sung flawlessly by all involved. While pop star Tina Star excels at the numbers she is involved in, her voice is not only powerful but quite emotional and she channels the real Eva Perón and gives this person a soul in this modern rendition of Evita. So when you first see Tina wearing that trademark white evening dress and with her arms in above her, it’s a defining moment in this musical which is quite iconic as this was one of Eva Perón’s many wake-up calls during her short-life.
Another highlight of the music is when the ensemble becomes involved, it adds an almost operatic element that creates another layer of emotion to the story. Interestingly, the story of Evita does allude to Eva Perón using her sexuality in order to advance her career which is one of the burdens carried by her. So while this production started with the funeral of Eva Perón, it also ends with the funeral of Eva Perón in a melancholy fashion but the wake is a standing ovation for the entire cast of Evita, especially Tina Arena.
Evita is a must-see musical for lovers of the theatre genre that is not only well produced but is played in the perfect venue at the State Theatre in Melbourne. Even though the story of Evita is a solemn experience, the music is powerful as are the performers that is brought to life spectacularly by Tina Arena as Argentina’s First Lady and people’s hero, Eva Perón.
For more information, please visit https://evitathemusical.com.au/ and Evita is currently playing at the State Theatre at the Arts Centre Melbourne.