Evita UK Tour: Churchill Theatre, Bromley
Reviewed 24th July 2018
After touring the UK in 2017 and having a successful limited run in London’s Phoenix Theatre Bill Kenwright’s Evita is back touring the UK. This smash hit featuring music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and telling the story of Eva Peron is a global success with the International Tour starring Emma Kingston about to close its doors after a year touring the world. This most recent touring production is led by Lucy O’Byrne (The Sound of Music, Les Misérables) in the iconic role of Eva Perón, with Mike Sterling (The Phantom of the Opera, Les Misérables) as Juan Perón and, award-winning West End leading man, Glenn Carter (Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Jesus Christ Superstar – on stage and screen, Les Misérables, The Case Of The Frightened Lady) as Ché.
Much like its previous incarnations, this production is technically brilliant. The sets, designed by Matthew Wright, and lighting, by Tim Oliver, work well together to create the decadence and grandeur of the show. Along with the detailed and elaborate costumes the whole show feels high quality. However, the first act of the show, in particular, lacks something; it feels slightly tired and dated. The choreography, by Bill Deamer, is in need of tightening up but is full of Argentine roots and is performed passionately.
With such a well-known score comes huge pressure. Luckily, the vocals from all involved are enigmatic and enjoyable. Lucy O’Byrne grows in confidence and stage presence along with Eva’s journey culminating in a very manipulative, conniving protrayal of Eva Peron. She shows Eva’s story convincingly and she is especially good during the eventual decline of the First Lady. Lucy’s vocals are excellent. She thrives during the high soprano notes and is able to show emotion through her songs. Glenn Carter makes for an interesting choice for Che. His rocky edge to his voice works well for a number of reasons but at points his vocals do not feel strong enough for this character. He also lacked slightly in the menacing quality that Che often has. Christina Hoey, the mistress, sung the well-known song ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall‘ with clarity and precision but lacked strong emotion. Mike Sterling remains strong and commanding throughout his portrayal of the President Peron.
This production is exactly the same as the 2017 UK Tour and London transfer to the Phoenix Theatre so if you were a fan then, you’ll definitely enjoy this show. Whilst it may lack some emotion during the first act, it certainly makes up for it during the latter part of the show, where the pace and emotions are stepped up and the show builds to a nice climax. Perhaps it’s not a show to rush out and buy tickets for, but for any fans of the classic tale of Evita then it is definitely a great night out.
Photo Credit: Pamela Raith (previous cast)