Evita Shines at Leeds Grand Theatre

With the election on everybody’s mind, Evita was the perfect musical to be performed at Leeds Grand Theatre  – unless Corbyn the Musical decides to tour anytime soon. Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s politically charged musical takes an autobiographical look of the first lady of Argentina, Eva Peron. Narrated by Che Guevara (Gian Marco Schiaretti), the performance was meticulously choreographed, representing the conflict of class throughout Eva’s career.

The structure of the show itself was well directed. All movement was made with purpose and the stage entrances of Eva were so well timed, it felt as though Eva herself would appear from thin air. The set was minimal with a huge reliance on group movements and choreography, along with the main archway of stairs which was always present throughout the performance. Movement was as fluent as the music which made for a perfect pace of the show.

Once the oddity of Che Guevara’s narration settled and the story moved back in time, we barely waited before being stunned again, but this time due to the stellar performance of Emma Hatton who played Eva. Her strong vocals resonated well with Eva’s strong character and confidence. Harmonies were distinct and contrasted with the other casts impressive vocal control which heightened each musical note in the performance.

While the story of Eva is a sad one, the show marks the remarkable achievements of Eva Peron. Although the musical itself is at times fictionalised, the powerful performances of this productions cast gives way for wonder of how one woman captured the hearts of a nation.

Mark McDougall

[Image Pamela Raith Photography]

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