Updated: Monday, 11th December 2017 @ 2:23pm

Review: Evita @ Palace Theatre, Manchester

Review: Evita @ Palace Theatre, Manchester

| By Edward Roberts

Eva Peron’s rags to riches story is one that’s been told many times since her untimely death in 1952.

But there’s a new dimension to the tale in the production of Evita now showing at the Palace Theatre in Manchester.  

This, it must be said, is down to the star of the show Madalena Alberto.

West End sensation Alberto doesn’t just bring crisp dance moves and a faultless voice to the role.

Instead, she uses her facial expressions to highlight the feelings of hope and desperation that Eva wrestled with both at the start and end of her life.

There’s even a particular moment during Don’t Cry For Me Argentina where Alberto is almost overcome with emotion. It’s a nice touch, and one that doesn’t go unnoticed by those in attendance.

Luckily, the leading lady has an equally mesmerising leading man by her side.

IMPOSING: It's hard to find fault with the casting decisions

Gian Marco Schiaretti is unquestionably a solid pick to play the narrator Che.

An imposing figure dressed in khaki, he kicks things off on the right note – literally – with his rendition of Oh What A Circus.

It briefly looks like he is positioned to be the star of the show with his strong vocals and obvious charisma.

However, Schiaretti carefully toes the line between acting as a supporting character and leaving his own mark on the production. It’s an admirable skill to say the least.

The strength of this musical doesn’t just rest on the talent of these two captivating leads.

For instance, the music – famously penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber and with lyrics by Tim Rice – veers slightly from previous renditions, such as the 1996 film starring Madonna and the 1978 stage version with David Essex at the helm.

DETAIL: The show plays out beautifully

The tunes stay true to those made popular in early productions, while at the same time making this outing feel fresh and original.

It would be genuinely difficult to choose a single song that stands out above the rest.

However, Peron’s Latest Flame, Rainbow High and A New Argentina would certainly be in the running.

The mistress’ Another Suitcase In Another Hall is also a show-stealing ballad performed by Cristina Hoey.

Theatre-goers won’t be disappointed if this is their first time seeing Evita.

After all, the plot – which sees an ambitious class-hopping girl ascend to the top of society in Argentina – plays out beautifully and clearly.

Meanwhile, long-time fans will appreciate the attention to detail that isn’t always a given in such productions.

All in all, Evita is the early Christmas present that all fans of theatre deserve.

*Evita is playing at the Palace Theatre, Manchester until Saturday, December 9. You can buy tickets HERE.