REVIEW: Evita, Theatre Royal, Newcastle

Madalena Alberto as Eva Peron in Evita, Theatre Royal, Newcastle.
Madalena Alberto as Eva Peron in Evita, Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

A social climbing actress marries into power and influence! Sound familiar?

The musical of Evita, by accident, rather than design, chimes nicely with the recent nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle.

Evita tells the rags to riches story of street urchin Eva Duarte, who uses her looks and charm to climb the greasy pole to success in a turbulent post-war Argentina.

And like the royal wedding this production of arguably Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s most accomplished musical is not short of pomp and ceremony.

As my guest on the night observed “if you like men in uniform and looking at attractive women, Evita is for you.”

Certainly Bob Tomson and Bill Kenwright’s production is not short on visual impact, but stars of the show are the impeccable voices of the cast.

Evita, Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

Evita, Theatre Royal, Newcastle.

While Meghan and leading lady Madalena Alberto, may run each other close for their dress and star quality, Madalena is hands down the vocal queen of the stage. She shimmied across the boards as the youthful man-eating teenage Eva Daurte before commanding our attention as the powerful first lady Eva Perón.

Her performance was nuanced and honest, but she brought the house down with the much anticipated Don’t Cry for Me Argentina. Despite her plea, the tears were flowing. But though she was truly exceptional on the night, her supporting cast were just as eye, and ear, catching.

Gian Marco Schiaretti as narrator Che, was an imposing presence as he stalked the stage like Rambo in a beret, charting Eva’s stellar rise and untimely fall with humour, grace and no little power. Jeremy Secomb as Perón and Oscar Balmaseda as Magaldi, were excellent foils while Cristina Hoey almost stole the show with her heartrending take on Another Suitcase In Another Hall.

While the story has no discernible message of importance to impart and the characters are at times neither sympathetic or endearing, the whole show is a masterclass in the art of the musical.

A right royal performance oozing class and star quality from every pore.

Evita is running at Theatre Royal Newcastle until Saturday, May 26. For tickets go to the Theatre Royal website.