Friday, 31 January 2014

Evita

Edinburgh Playhouse
Four stars
First ladies have been much in the news of late. Yet the contemporary 
soap opera allure of these sometime powers behind the thrones of male 
politicians is mere tittle-tattle compared to the dramatic life of Eva 
Peron. Lyricist Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber were clearly 
drawn to such interesting lives, as both Joseph and the Amazing 
Technicolour Dreamcoat and Jesus Christ Superstar had made clear. 
Almost forty years after the pair's final and greatest collaboration, 
Evita remains both of its time and profoundly prophetic in its 
depiction of one woman's unflinching ambition and her ascent to 
greatness.

The brush-strokes may be broad in Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright's fine 
touring production, but is full of well-choreographed nuance as it 
flits through Argentina's volatile mid twentieth century history that 
so shaped Eva before it killed her. As played by a vibrant Madalena 
Alberto, Eva has a drive to escape her humble roots that's akin to 
Margaret Thatcher, yet who captures peoples hearts in a way that only 
the likes of Princess Diana has done since.

Making Che Guevara the show's narrator was always a stroke of genius. 
Like Eva, Che was an iconic pin-up, particularly to Lloyd Webber and 
Rice's generation, and having real life former pop star Marti Pellow 
don Che's beret as the conscience of the masses is equally inspired. 
While Rice's words can sound very much of their time, the ennui of 
songs such as Another Suitcase In Another Hall, High Flying Adored and 
Alberto's show-stopping take on Don't Cry For Me Argentina is in no way 
diminished in a show that's about glamour, power and how the pursuit of 
both inevitably corrupts.

The Herald, January 31st 2013

ends

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