A FLASH forward to Eva Peron’s funeral is a haunting introduction to Bill Kenwright’s production of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s timeless ‘Evita’.
Enter the derisive Che played by the talented Gian Marco Schiaretti – who soon breaks the spell, with Tim Rice’s upbeat and taunting lyrics in ‘Oh What a Circus’.
The compelling energy of the first scenes after Eva – played for a second time by Madalena Alberto – descends on ‘Buenos Aires, Big Apple’, accelerates her timeline from ‘backstreet girl’ to Argentina’s First Lady to be, in a dizzying whirlwind.
Although hard to keep up with at times, talented vocals, an energetic cast, along with tight choreography and lighting, allow the effortless transitions between scenes.
However, it is Act Two where we can fully appreciate Alberto’s stunning vocal ability as she delivers one of musical theatre’s best loved classics.
Alberto in her glittering gown, completely captivates the crowd – both on stage and off – as she completes her transformation from actress and radio star to spiritual leader.
Her many celebrity guises are starkly undermined by contrasts of light and shadow, slow and fast and uplifting and gritty, along with Che – an embodiment of Eva’s inner torment.
The final scenes between Eva and her husband, dictator Juan Peron played by Jeremy Secomb, are delivered with tenderness and a genuinity, realised by Eva’s impending mortality.
As the show reaches full circle, its combination of impossible energy, flawless choreography, and slick production delightfully reinforces the immortality of a tragic heroine.
The show is playing until Saturday March 24 at the Birmingham Hippodrome.
Visit www.birminghamhippodrome.com to book.