Theatre review: Evita, Malvern Theatres, October 11 to 16
12th October 2010
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It's easy to think of Andrew Lloyd Webber as that bloke who hogs Saturday evening TV schedules with his singing contests.
But he does have one massive advantage over his high-trousered opposite number on ITV - he writes superb musicals like Evita, which is currently wowing Malvern audiences.
The story of Eva Duarte de Peron, an illegitimate girl from the wrong side of the tracks who rose to become Argentina's first lady has universal appeal and was the catalyst for timeless songs including Oh What A Circus, High Flying Adored and Another Suitcase in Another Hall, with smart, witty lyrics by Tim Rice.
Directors Bill Kenwright and Bob Tomson's staging is immensely powerful and moved many audience members to tears during the final scenes.
The cast is first rate. Mark Heenehan has massive stage presence as Colonel Juan Peron and Mark Powell connects well with his audience as Che, the narrator of Eva's rags to riches story.
But the undoubted star is Abigail Jaye as Eva Peron. Ms Jaye has a beautiful singing voice and portrays Eva pefectly during the different stages of her young life - as an ambitious teenager in Junin, a social climbing actress in Buenos Aires and the diamond-clad wife of a president. Don't Cry for Me Argentina is a triumph.
Evita runs at Malvern Theatres until Saturday, October 16. 
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