REVIEW: Evita, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton, January 17-21

Evita
Evita

No matter how many times you see it, Evita is a show which never loses its impact – a captivating, complex portrait of a flawed but charismatic figure wrapped up in some of the finest songs musical theatre has ever given us.

Emma Hatton, our Eva Peron in Southampton, is maybe a touch poppier than her predecessors, but her approach works beautifully as she poses the question: was Eva a self-seeking fraud who slept her way to the top and then presided over mass corruption and eventual bankruptcy or was she the inspirational, shining light for a troubled people, cruelly snatched away from them at the tender age of just 33?

The fascination is, of course, that she was both and more – and Hatton captures both the steel and the fragility of her rise and fall. Standing slightly apart, Gian Marco Schiaretti is outstanding as Che, sneering, dismissive commentator on all she does.

Bill Kenwright’s production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s classic is smartly, swiftly done, rattling along at pace. But just as it should, it’s the songs it serves – and here Hatton and Schiaretti are in their element.

There is genius is the way the numbers carry the story; there is wit and invention in the lyrics. The result is a show which seems as fresh as ever – provocative, touching and, best of all, deeply, deeply absorbing.

Phil Hewitt

Tickets on www.mayflower.org.uk.

Tickets on www.mayflower.org.uk.

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