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Evita the Musical in Melbourne: A review

If you had asked me – before the announcement of this production – which Australian performer would be best suited to play the role of Eva Peron in Evita, I doubt I would’ve been able to think of any. Yet, as soon as the casting was announced I was simultaneously surprised, excited, and relieved that the enormously talented Tina Arena had been cast. (Full disclosure – I am a huge Tina fan).

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 With effortless delivery and commanding vocal range, Arena takes hold of the legendarily demanding role and delivers a multiple standing ovation-worthy performance; one that is sure to be remembered by all who bear witness.

Setting the tone and direction of the story Kurt Kansley as charmingly sardonic narrator Che, captures the audience from the outset with cynical asides and humour and like Ms. Arena, delivers a pitch perfect performance imbuing Tim Rice’s simple lyrics with deep understanding.

Paulo Szots’s gutsy Peron is grounded, rich and much more three-dimensional than other interpretations and is both refreshing and absolutely right.

 The powerhouse ensemble was the glue that brought the show together and effortlessly delivered a new standard in cohesiveness and unity that punctuated and allowed the score to flow with ease.

The greatest privilege was to be able to see the original production design, choreography,and costume. With a strong reference to Brechtian staging and direction it allows the performances to be the focus of every moment and shows great restraint that perfectly balances the grandeur of the subject matter that led to the world’s fascination with this story and the woman behind it.

 Evita is playing at the State Theatre, Melbourne until February 17 2019. See more at the Evita website

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