Don’t Cry For Me, Argentina. Well, it’s safe to say on this occasion I, for once, didn’t cry during last night’s performance at HM Theatre.
But that was mostly because I struggled to get to grips with the format of Evita – which tries to detail the life of Argentine president Juan Peron and his adored wife, Eva, who wins the hearts and minds of her people.
Evita was one of the few Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals I had not seen until last night, having been frequently warned off it – and I can understand why.
As a fan of the genre, I can truly understand the magic which is created when Webber and Tim Rice collaborate to create something truly special on stage.
But on this occasion I felt the plot was a bit lost to poor diction, due to the whole script being delivered by song – not unusual for the musical geniuses who have managed to create wonderful stage shows, such as Cats and Phantom Of The Opera.
But these shows are usually bolstered by incredible setting, fantastic choreography and beautiful costumes.
Last night’s show was not devoid of that, however they were not strong enough to carry the whole performance.
I also felt the familiarity of Webber’s music didn’t help give it its own identity as, on a number of occasions, I thought the minor keys and dischords were about to lead into another number from one of his other shows.
That said, when the curtain was drawn on the last musical number, the whole audience was on their feet for a standing ovation.
For me the highlight of the night was Lucy O’Byrne’s performance as Eva. She completely blew me away with her outstanding vocals and effortless acting.
It would be worth the ticket price just to see her perform the famous number at the opening of the second act. You could hear a pin drop.
I am glad I’ve now seen Evita and can appreciate it for what it is.
But for me, I wish Webber and Rice would stick to writing about singing cats and multicoloured dream coats, and leave the politics alone.