Riley Smith Hall
Until December 1
As a well-known Lloyd-Webber/Rice classic, there were high expectations set around Stage Musicals Society’s (SMS) latest performance, directed by Joe Gaus. ‘Evita’ follows the life of Argentina’s First Lady, Eva Perón; her rise to power, the gaining of her acclaimed title as the ‘spiritual leader of a nation’, and her eventual decline in death.
The performance begins on a strong note as it starts at the funeral of Eva, and the cast bellow out an emotive “Requiem for Evita”. This strength permeates through the first act with an eclectic range of song styles. Nevertheless, at times in the performance, the 16-strong orchestra was unfortunately just too loud, and parts of solos could not be heard.
strength permeates through the first act with an eclectic range of song styles
Undoubtedly, the most satisfying and striking scenes are the ones involving the whole cast; the choreography is particularly good here and is executed wonderfully. The ensemble, as a whole, is very impressive, with many strong voices throughout. A particularly nice moment includes a scene when they come together to form a stiff-upper-lipped bourgeoisie, moving around the stage as one unit with contorted faces, which was very amusing to watch.
Verity Blyth delivers a flawless performance as Eva, as she opens the second half with a graceful rendition of the famous “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina”. There is little to fault here as her voice never once falters and carries most of this act. Blyth and Josh Hughes (as Perón) work well together to deliver a heartfelt and believable performance of husband and wife.
After such a strong act, however, it seems as though it all comes to a close very quickly, and somewhat anti-climactically, but this could just be an indication of the powerful nature of what has come before. SMS delivered a stunningly poignant performance of Evita, and certainly lived up to expectations.