Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Musical Evita first opened in London’s West End back in 1978, starring Elaine Page and David Essex. The show went on to win the Best Musical Olivier Award and Tony Award a year later. In 2014 the show made a brief return to the West End at the Dominion Theatre, starring Marti Pellow and Madalena Alberto, which my review was less than favorable of. So, on hearing the show was returning to the West End straight from a UK and International tour, I was curious to see what this production would be like.
Evita (originally written as a rock/opera concept album) tells the story of Argentina’s first lady Eva Peron and her struggle to be accepted by the public due to her strong views. Whilst running for Vice President of Argentina, Eva had to withdraw from the candidacy due to ill heath and died of Cancer at the age of just thirty three.
Emma Hatton sparkles in the title role of Eva Peron, perfectly embodying the character whilst also making the role her own. This is the role she was born to play and she does so with gusto and beauty. Gian Marco Schiaretti got the audience hot under the collar with his portrayal of Che. Not only is he very pretty to look at but his vocals are astounding and he sang notes that Marti Pellow could only ever dream of hitting.
Although the set used was again taken from the touring production, it seemed to fit much more nicely in to the space of the Phoenix Theatre than it did at the Dominion and felt more robust than it had before.
This is the best reincarnation of Evita that I’ve seen and although it’s not my favourite Andrew Lloyd Webber show, I have much more respect for it with this production that ever before. And with some great classic songs like Buenos Aires, Another Suitcase In Another Hall and Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, it is one show not to miss in the West End this Summer.
Reviewed by West End Wilma