Currently showing at the Montecasino Teatro, Evita, as produced by Pieter Toerien, is the story of a towering figure in Argentina. By the time she died at the age of 33 in 1952, Eva Duarte Peron was known as the spiritual leader of Argentina.
Her claim to fame was initially that she was the first lady, married to president and military man Juan Peron, whose presidency centred around the voices of working class Argentines.
This production is a remake of the original 1978 West End musical based on this woman’s life. Thirty nine years later and after several remakes, which includes film, the storyline of the musical is intact, and it’s wonderful because it allows even those who know nothing about Eva to follow.
It tracks her story from her teenage years to her death, as one of the most loved figures in Argentina.
The production is high quality, and it makes use of a mixture of media to tell the story - a small amount of spoken dialogue, original images and video of Eva and Juan Peron’ s lives in the presidency, and a majority of the dialogue is sung.
There are three actresses who play Eva; Emma Kingston, LJ Neilson and the understudy Danielle Bitton.
Che is played by Jonathan Roxmouth, while Magaldi is portrayed by Anton Luitingh.
Peron, Eva’s husband is portrayed by Robert Finlayson and Peron’s mistress by Isabella Jane. Kingston, who plays Eva for a large chunk of the production, is a pleasure to watch, and dazzles in her tackling of the production’s big musical numbers.
Jane, who we see in a performance of Another Suitcase in Another Hall, is endearing and captivating. Roxmouth in his portrayal of Che is charming and has just the right amount of fire.
The set is built to be practical but also to reinforce the tale visually. The ensemble sounds and looks good, and it is through them that the choreography can be truly appreciated for its perfect fit into the scenes in which it appears. Musical numbers A Requiem for Eva and On the Balcony of the Casa Rosada stand out.
The orchestra, which is an essential part of any musical, also played at its finest.
Evita is a truly world class production that allows you to see the flawed and ordinary woman behind the figure who became the pride of a nation.
* Evita is on at the Montecasino Teatro till November 26.