Evita, Theatre Review. Liverpool Empire Theatre.

Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10

Cast: Marti Pellow, Madalena Alberto, Mark Heenehan, Sarah McNicholas, Nic Gibney, Verity Burgess, David Burilin, Joseph Connor, Natalie Day, Joel Elferink, Laura Emmitt, Emily Goodenough, Antony Hewitt, Stuart Maciver, Joe Maxwell, Perry O’Dea, Lizzie Ottley, Ryan Pidgen, Anthony Ray.

Evita should be considered as one of the ultimate musicals to be penned in the last 40 years, it is a production that has everything, arguably the single most important role for a woman to perform in musical theatre, the craving of success and just enough controversy weaved and hidden away within its score to make theatre goers come back for more time and time again.

The tale of Eva Peron, the second wife of the former leader of Argentina has had many great versions placed on stage since first produced in the late 70s but surely there can be none that has so encapsulated the era so well and framed Eva with such frankness and stylish beauty.

What makes it work over a lot of other musicals is there is no deviation with the spoken narrative to take the audience away with what is essentially a pure musical. Unlike most musicals, the story is captured completely in song, there is no need to set up the scenes with small-talk by way of introducing the next song, this is purely about the emotion, the musical fix that theatre audiences get the biggest kick out of. In this production the emotion ran through the evening as if a thousand rivers had burst their banks at once.

Marti Pellow enjoyed one of his biggest accolades from a Liverpool crowd away from his time with one of Scotland’s biggest ever groups, Wet Wet Wet, when he performed in Jekyll and Hyde at The Empire Theatre. A couple of years on and once again the transformation from pop icon to theatre star is complete as he gives a towering performance as Che, the narrator of the sad brutal tale.

It is very rare for someone, any performer to get a bigger applause, a crowning standing ovation when Marti Pellow has given a sumptuous performance but the biggest cheer of the night was reserved for the woman who made Eva Peron even larger than life than she could have been. As the jaw-dropping execution of her work was appreciated fully, Madalena Alberto stood on the shoulders of giants of the musical theatre world. This should be considered as one of the most outstanding performances ever captured by one woman on the Empire stage.

Evita is one of the most evocative musicals of all time, as Marti Pellow, Madalena Alberto and Mark Heenehan gave their bows to the audience and receiving well deserved recognition, it’s not hard to work out why.

A colossus of a production!

Ian D. Hall