– by Chantelle Pitt
First off, I love musicals. Musical theatre is one of my favourite things in the world. So as you can imagine, I was pretty excited to be given the chance to review such a prestigious show like Evita.
From its inception on the West End to its film portrayal, Evita has been shared with the world many times and in many different ways. Performed on this occasion by the Koorliny Arts Centre and directed by Stephen Carr, Evita follows the life and trials of one woman through a rock opera styling that can only be the work of Andrew Lloyd Webber. The life of one Eva Duarte (Ali Hill) before her rise to fame and marriage to Juan Peron (Paul Treasure) is narrated by Che (Paul Spencer), the voice of the people. The story begins with Eva’s death and subsequently backtracks across the years to the beginning of her rise to fame.
The show started slowly to begin with; performances were shaky and singing was rusty. As the second song started, everything began to flow nicely. The set was minimal with two staircases leading to a large balcony and nothing changed apart from the furniture. Unfortunately during the night, technical problems occurred and as a result the actors could not be heard over the music even though they were using microphones. On the topic of audio, I believe that this production could have resulted in a better performance if microphones were not so heavily relied upon during the show. From my own personal viewpoint, the theatre was not big enough to warrant the use of microphones. Perhaps if they were not so heavily relied upon, then more emotion could have poured through the actors’ performances. Unfortunately most of the solo songs lacked emotion and passion. Most ensemble songs were very good and the combined voices of the cast proved to create a powerful sound. One problem I noticed in particular was when the cast seemed to fight with each other to be the star voice, each person’s overlapping voices tried to outshine everyone else’s. This disrupted the wonderful sound they could have made and turned it into an off-key mess.
On a positive note, Evita contains large dance numbers that rely on ensemble commitment to fulfil their great potential and I am glad to say that Evita delivered on their excellent choreography. Enthusiasm and cheers are two things that the ensemble incorporates into their large dance numbers. On a final note, I do urge you to see Evita as it is an interesting portrayal of the life of Eva Peron and a show that truly deserves to be seen.
Evita plays at the Koorliny Arts Centre until the 30th of May. Tickets and futher information can be found at their website.
Images courtesy of Deprimo Photography.