Evita – Grand Opera House York

It’s ages since I last saw Evita and I probably wouldn’t have gone this time if my aunt and cousin hadn’t said they would like to go.

As a musical it’s always an enjoyable experience; I come out of the theatre humming the songs and usually end up with a medley of them as an earworm for weeks.  As someone who is interested in people and in history I wonder why Lloyd-Webber and Rice chose to create a musical around a manipulative woman, a dictator and a revolutionary; should we really be glamourising them?

I don’t think the stage set for the musical has changed much since I first saw it back in the late 1970s/early 80s although technology has enabled the set to be less static.  I like the setting.  The simplicity of it allows the actors to tell the story and means the story moves on at a decent pace with little waiting for scenery to move.

I thought Kevin Stephen-Jones was well cast as Juan Peron.  He was credible as a middle-aged General attracted by the young “actress” half his age; and as someone just good enough to have risen through the ranks but who needed the drive of his young wife to push him up the next rung of the ladder.

Gian Marco Schiaretti, as Che, had a beautiful voice and a well honed body but his acting skills were not up to the job.  At various points he was standing one stage looking like the brainless narcissists you see in a gym admiring their reflections in the mirror.  I suspect he thought he was looking strong and manly but it just looked wooden.

Emma Hatton sang a very good Evita and acted the relationship with Peron well; it was believable that it was a mutually beneficial business relationship rather than a love match.  Where I think she fell down was in acting Eva’s ambition.  I didn’t feel there was any drive behind Eva’s determination to escape the humiliation of her illegitimacy in her home town or the ruthless drive to succeed at any cost when she arrived in Buenos Aires.

The rest of the cast were competent without anyone standing out.

Am I pleased I went?  Yes.  Do I still have an Evita soundtrack earworm still stuck well and truly in my head?  Yes.  Would I rush back to see it again?  No.  But if someone asked me to go with them again I’d happily agree, knowing I would have an enjoyable evening.

Click for details of AGT touring production of Evita

Click here to find out more about Eva Duarte Peron

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