16-21 June 2014
Reviewed by Rhys Black
Last night What’s Good To Do has been extremely fortunate to review Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production of Evita at the Sunderland Empire, a fantastic theatre to watch any production!
Evita tells the life and death of the spiritual leader of the Argentinian people, Eva Peron, who came to prominence in post war Argentina. Eva was born Eva Duarte in 1919 into a poverty stricken family who grew up with an ambition to be an actress. From 1935 acting career continues to grow until she’s seduced by the lure of power she sees in one of the nation’s most powerful political figures in Juan Peron. After marrying Juan she becomes more and more active in Argentinian politics as the voice of the people where she championed the poor, but ended up polarizing opinion – adored by some, heavily criticised by others as the methods the Peron regime employed become more and more heavy handed, however you can’t help but respect all she achieved in her short life.
Eva is played by the talented Madalena Alberto who gives a bold performance in the lead role. At times the more powerful songs in the play did not quite match her vocal range, and unfortunately could become a little screechy for my liking, however the signature song of the musical “Don’t Cry for me Argentina” she sings beautifully!
Marti Pellow, famous of course for being the lead singer of Wet Wet Wet, got the loudest reception of the night for his portrayal of Che. Although initially it is hard to see past the ‘Marti Pellow’ image, you soon forget this and are literally taken in by his faultless performance. He plays this character very intensely, however, at times he has a mild comic element which is a very clever way of breaking what is a very intense play.
An additional mention should go to Sarah McNicholas who played Juan Peron’s mistress. Her voice is stunning and full of emotion in her rendition of “Another Suitcase, Another Haul”, which was a particular highlight.
Overall the staging of Evita is simple yet very effective. The costumes are fitting with the time period and bring the production to life. I particularly think that the use of the balcony for the ‘Don’t Cry for me Argentina’ musical number was brilliant.
Overall, Evita was a good watch in a lovely theatre, and would give it 3 ½ stars out of 5.
Tickets cost from £12.90 to £42.90 (plus £2.85 transaction fee).
Evita is at the Sunderland Empire until 21 June 2014. For more information or to book tickets click here or call the box office on 0844 871 3022.
Sunderland Empire, High Street West, Sunderland, SR1 3EX | 0844 871 3022