REVIEW: Evita, Mayflower
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UPDATE: Since this review was first published, Evita has now moved back into the West End at the Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0JG >>> EVITA DETAILS – PHOENIX THEATRE
REVIEW: Evita, Mayflower 17 January 2017
By Dilyara Gover and Dina Stone, Edited by Kevin Gover
Which words can you add to describe a show that’s already stunning, words that already been said a hundred times before? Why does it take all three of us to write a review?
Well, the truth is that ‘Evita’ has affected all three of us in so many different ways since 1978 (when Kevin first witnessed a heated row in a pub in Bath between the landlord and a customer as to why Julie Covington’s song dared to be on the juke box.) Another of us was initially affected through the film, and then a third is completely new.
And that is why we think the show continues while others are long gone; it’s Evita’s longevity, its endurance and the emotions it did – and continues – to stir, even to a fresh pair of eyes. Those who have seen it a hundred times. One of us who has now seen it just the once.
All three of us wanted to find out more about the story after seeing the show. It’s not just a love story – especially with the Argentinian people. It’s complicated; why did it end in the way it did? Why do people in power who have power over their people take things just a little too far…
We wanted to find out more about Tim Rice’s obsession with researching the story, Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s initial dismissal of the musical – and then what it became. The original recording, the show which attracted such names as Elaine Paige, Marti Webb, Joss Ackland, David Essex – Broadway, the film, back to the West End, back to Broadway and now touring again.
The story as a whole was beautifully told – and narrated by Che (Gian Marco). It made everything clear and easy to understand. (Dina: yes, and he’s handsome too, let’s be honest!)
Emma Hatton was COMPLETELY into her role as Eva, very deep into her character, in the way she sang, moved and her facial expressions.
Kevin Stephen-Jones was also superb as Peron (not surprising as he’s been in 20 operas across the UK and Europe – and you may also have seen him here in Cats playing Old Deuteronomy). It was especially impressive when all three were on stage at the same time.
There are the songs which also continue to stir the emotions: ‘Oh What a Circus’, ‘Another Suitcase In Another Hall’, ‘You Must Love Me’ and ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’. The music (helped with a ten-strong band) felt in perfect harmony with the show. There’s ‘The Speech’ to the crowds in Argentina, which drew equally as much reaction from the audience in the Mayflower. We felt as if we were there.
The moment with the girl in the church was very touching (the children have been split into two teams from Stagecoach Salisbury). Scenery was minimal yet stunning, as it moves around quite a bit. The lighting was wonderful; in the church you felt you were actually there. The costumes were elegant, high quality, true to the period, but not too much – you could see all the action.
It was Gian who drew immense reaction from the audience at the end – particularly, shall we say, from the female part? (Dina: maybe I was imagining it – but was that a tear in Gian’s eye in response to that reaction?)
Five stars all round, easy.
(Note: all images provided to us are of the previous West End Cast.