Mid Cheshire Musical Theatre Company
Director: Louise Colohan
Musical Director: Marilyn Blank
Choreography: Liz Cardall
When you think how many productions of Evita there have been worldwide, you wonder is there anything new that can be achieved? Louise Colohan’s highly emotional concept found the truth and humanity of Maria Duarte’s rise to become Argentina’s First Lady, Eva Peron. The story telling was sharp and energetic. In any production of Evita there have to be no weak links as everyone on stage is on display and has an important role to play. The cast’s strong delivery and interpretation was maintained throughout this presentation.
It is the complicated and difficult music that can make or break the show. The score includes classical music, big ballads and might be classified as a rock opera but it was one which the M.D. and her fine orchestra mastered.
Giving colour to the scenes, the choreography brought out the Latin rhythms of Argentina. All the movement were executed with conviction by the dancers and ensemble.
Charades excellent costumes made the characters recognisable giving them credibility. The lighting and sound plots also added a dramatic element to highlight the storyline and the narrative. Stage manager, Lyndsey Downs, and her crew kept the show moving, never interrupting the ebb and flow of the piece.
Che is the narrator of Eva’s life journey. It is a role that demands a wide range of vocal skills. Andrew Lee had all the technical requirements to deliver the charismatic revolutionary. He was rarely off stage working and worked so well with the leading lady and the company. His highlight musical numbers were “High Flying Adored” and “The Money Kept Rolling In”.
Of Eva’s bedroom seductions from her little hometown to the Casa Rosada, the first lover we met was tango singer, Magaldi, a role effortlessly portrayed by Stuart Dutton. It was Magaldi who was credited for taking Eva to Buenos Aires.
Eva now mixes in the social circles that can further her ambitions with seduction after seduction. “Goodnight and Thank You” she sings, as finally she reaches her goal, Colonel Peron. He is captivated by Eva who told him, “I’d Be Surprisingly Good for You”. His present mistress is evicted, and Evita moves in. Laura Merriman’s effective characterisation as the abandoned mistress held the audience with her rendition of “Another Suitcase, Another Hall”.
Eva and Juan Peron marry, and the doting husband becomes President after a military coup. Michael Shneck, as Juan captured the chemistry between Peron and Eva.
The title role must be on most actresses “wish list”, It is so challenging with an emotional roller coaster of emotions and the vocal range that is required, not to mention the energy that must be sustained throughout. Colette Williams ticked every box and she had such emotion in her singing. Colette’s fluid control over the eclectic range of musical styles gave such depth to the character as Eva moves from country girl to political idol.
This production proved age has not lessened the show’s impact and, ignoring the woo wooing and screams from the audience, Evita has a lot of mileage left in it.