Updated: Wednesday, 20th November 2019 @ 5:39am

Theatre review: Evita @ The Palace Theatre, Manchester

Theatre review: Evita @ The Palace Theatre, Manchester

| By Josh Willacy

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical Evita first hit the stage 35 years ago. 

Today, the tale of Eva Peron, Argentina’s most infamous first lady, still has the ability to captivate audiences. Those who will see the show at Manchester’s Palace Theatre will not be disappointed.

The beautifully-staged production was an absolute triumph. The ten piece band worked effortlessly through one of Lloyd Webber and Rice’s most popular scores.

Madalena Alberto, who plays the title role, was nothing less than exceptional. Vocally flawless, she brought a real hardnosed persona to the character, capturing Evita’s steely ambition and sensual nature.

Alberto has an undeniable presence and commanded the stage. The room fell silent when her rendition of Don’t Cry for me Argentina filled the auditorium at the start of the second act; a raw and breathtakingly emotional performance.

EMANATING CHARM: Wet Wet Wet’s Marti Pellow who played Che

That being said, Evita is not just a one song show, the sassy Rainbow High was brilliant, and her You Must Love Me was equally accomplished.

 A special mention must also go out to Sarah McNicholas for her crystal clear vocals in Another Suitcase Another Hall, making a real impact with the audience.

Wet Wet Wet’s Marti Pellow who played Che, the narrator and cynical conscious of Eva Peron, was certainly a crowd-pleaser. He emanated charm throughout and certainly held his own beside Madelena Alberto.  

The Waltz of Evita and Che was a roaring success, as the tension between the two characters reached its intense climax.

Having said that, there were times when Pellow appeared rather wooden on stage, particularly in the first act and some parts felt uncomfortable to sit through.

Vocally, it seemed that he was assuming a more typical musical theatre sound, and sounded strained at times. His own more gravelly recording voice potentially would have been more suited the role.

Nevertheless he brought energy to Evita and played the sardonic liberation leader with conviction.

Peron played by Mark Heenehan was perfectly pitched opposite Alberto, his powerful performance was solid and poised, and the intensity of feeling for Evita came through beautifully.   

With its Latin flavour, tangos and pase doubles are the life blood of the choreography throughout the piece, and the company dance ensembles were executed excellently.

Overall the production was strong, it boasted powerful songs, exciting choreography and most importantly a beautiful story. It is definitely one to watch.  

Images courtesy of Keith Pattison, with thanks.