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12 Nov 2015
The emotional tale of the loved and lost Argentinian leader Eva Peron has taken the Wellington Opera House by an absolute storm, brought to life by an obscenely talented cast.
So talented that mid-way through the show my companion asked me “where is this cast from?!” to which I smugly (and proudly) replied that they hailed locally. This is undoubtedly the type of quality that would hold up on any international stage and be more than well received. Director Grant Meese, I applaud you.
Evita isn’t your conventional ‘jazzhands’ musical with its power as a piece coming from the portrayal of themes such as rags to riches, love, and tragedy. In order to move the audience through the life of Eva, from a fame thirsty actress to a much loved Argentinian first lady, requires a talented and bold cast - both criterion utterly satisfied by the performers on show.
I need to start by singing my praises to Heather Wilcock for her portrayal of Eva. It’s no easy task to take on a character who lives out her momentous life in two hours, but Heather rose to the challenge, with her flawless vocal ability acting as the cherry on top of her characterization of Eva.
It all began from the second she bounded on stage, literally frothing with excitement to move to Buenos Aries with her (first of many) ‘man candy’ in tow. I didn’t realize how engrossed I had become in the development of our leading lady until the second act laid down an utterly somber version of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, which showcased our (now) beloved Eva standing alongside President of Argentina, Juan Peron (Chris Crowe). I felt like a proud parent (cheesy I know) as I saw Eva sing her love for her people. I was utter hooked, and completely ignored the lyrics of our hit song: I may not be Argentinian, but I was definitely shedding some cheeky tears.
I also applaud the portrayal of Che Guavera - the delightful story telling guide, which literally acted as the bread and butter of the show. Matthew Pike smoothly pieced together the story line, with his banterous songs and an onstage energy, which kept the show flowing a pace that even I could understand.
Adding into the mix an abundance of professional and exciting choreography for the key dance numbers, amazing supporting characters (Peron’s mistress, I bow down to you) and some heart-wrenchingly talented children performers, you have an international quality musical that is not to be missed. With less than two weeks left on stage I beg you to buy a ticket and follow the humbling (and amazingly talented) story of Argentinian First lady, Eva Peron.
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