Evita, the musical considered by many to be Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s masterwork, is playing for 55 performances only in the West End, with musical theatre and pop icon Marti Pellow playing Che, and the brilliant Portuguese actress / singer Madalena Alberto as Eva Peron. It has just been announced that Ben Forster will join the cast of Evita as Augustin Magaldi.
The show features some of the most popular songs in the modern musicals canon, including Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, On This Night Of A Thousand Stars, Another Suitcase In Another Hall, Oh What A Circus and You Must Love Me.
Che – Marti Pellow
Eva Peron – Madalena Alberto
Peron – Andrew C Wadsworth
Magaldi – Ben Forster
Mistress – Sarah McNicholas
Directed by Bob Tomson and Bill kenwright
Designed by Matthew Wright
Choreographed by BIll Deamer
Lighting designed by Mark Howett
Original sound designed by Dan Samson
Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice
Has anyone thought of using surtitles in musicals? I ask because the one flaw in this highly skilled revival of the 1978 Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice show is the lack of attention to vocal detail.
The air of hollowness around her is passed off as a critique of the smoke-and-mirrors world of politics but it makes for quite arid viewing. We’re left with roughly six fantastic songs – among them the anthemic Don’t Cry for Me Argentina – in search of an all-consuming drama.
Portuguese actress Madalena Alberto similarly keeps us at a distance in the title role. She sings impressively but lacks the warmth and vulnerability of Elena Roger in Michael Grandage’s acclaimed 2006 production. Some unhelpful wigs also do her no favours in the early scenes, as she effects the transition from brash starlet to sleek stateswoman.
Marti Pellow, of Wet Wet Wet fame, makes an almighty hash of the part of cynical narrator Che. He can’t sustain a note and the concept of keeping in time appears totally beyond him. Yet those indestructibly fine songs — of which Don’t Cry for Me Argentina isn’t the best — wow us once more.
Fiona Mountford, The London Evening Standard
Evita may not have the guts of the original but Lloyd Webber’s score, Rice’s lyrics and Alberto’s powerful central performance are definitely worth a look.
Musical Theatre Review
Don’t cry for me Argentina? The only chance of a lachrymose audience at this production is if they’re bored to tears.
For my part, it is the worst production of a musical I have ever seen on a West End stage. It makes one pine for Too Close Too The Sun.
Stephen Collins, BritishTheatre.com
Click here to read our Evita review in full.