newsopinion

Review: Evita at the Empire Theatre, Liverpool

More than just a touch of star quality

Emma Hatton as Evita at the Liverpool Empire(Image: Pamela Raith Photography)

In a week that has seen the inauguration of the 45th president of the USA and La La Land has been nominated for 14 Oscars, I can't help wondering if Andrew Lloyd Webber is sitting at a piano in a garret room writing the first notes of Donald Trump Superstar, The Wall or even Melania the Musical.

If the latter has any mileage, the First Lady needs to court the love of the people, set up a foundation for the poor and pitch for the role of vice president. Because this is the stuff of great musicals.

And Bill Kenwright's latest touring production of Evita is just that.

The cast of Evita with Emma Hatton as Eva Duarte(Image: Pamela Raith Photography)

Don't be put off by the lack of 'big names' - Emma Hatton, who has recently finished playing the lead role of Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked and performs regularly as a jazz and blues singer captures the essence of the rags to riches tale of Eva Duarte to quasi politician.

Don't Cry For Me Argentina, a No 1 hit for Julie Covington, is the signature tune for this musical but Hatton's rendition of Buenos Aires early on laid bare her obvious talent.

Classically trained in the north, Kevin Stephen-Jones as Peron exposes the leader's uncertainty and vulnerability when faced with the indomitable Eva and his ultimate love for his wife, who died at the young age of 33.

Gian Marco as Che was less the revolutionary and more the snide commentator - interpreting the role as a poor dissenter rather than the revolutionary Che Guevara who many argue is misplaced in the musical.

Emma Hatton as Evita and Gian Marco as Che at the Liverpool Empire(Image: Pamela Rath)

Oscar Balmasada gets it just right as the hapless crooner and ditched lover Magaldi and Sarah O'Connor's rendition of Another Suitcase, Another Hall is very poignant.

The ensemble brought Bill Deamer's slick choreography to life effortlessly switching from workers to toffs, military to mourners with luscious Latin and tantalising tango beats.

Gian Marco as Che with chorus(Image: Pamela Raith Photography)

Eva Peron was adored by the people and the cast of the opening night of Evita were equally regaled by the audience.

All in all this production had more than a touch of star quality.

Evita runs at the Empire Theatre in Liverpool until Saturday, January 28. Tickets here .

View full mobile page