Johannesburg - Eva Perón triumphed over the ruling class in Argentina at a time when women didn’t have the right to vote – she was instrumental in getting it – and she was sneered at for being “from the wrong side of the tracks”.
Her empathy for the working class and her understanding of the needs of the poor transformed her into the spiritual leader of Argentina, and she’s an enduring part of Argentine history. Evita, the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical, was first performed in 1978. It was a smash hit, capturing Perón’s meteoric rise to the top of the political pile from a career as a radio star – the social media of the day.
This production, with a powerhouse South African cast led by the UK’s Emma Kingston, is spectacular and triumphant. The last time local audiences saw Evita was in a bonsai version with musical theatre doyen Angela Killian in the eponymous role. This time, it is bigger, better, louder and prouder on the Teatro stage.
The narrator – a cynical Che Guevara – is played with flawless brilliance by local musical theatre favourite Jonathan Roxmouth. Experiencing the combined vocal power of Roxmouth and Kingston is something you really don’t want to miss if you are a committed musical theatre fan. It is absolutely astounding.
Kingston, a newcomer to South Africa and an up-and-comer in her native England, has a set of vocal chords that soar through this substantial singing role. She also has incredible stage presence, capturing the mesmerising allure of Eva as a leader and as an orator.
The music is evergreen – with the powerful central song, Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, delivering the expected goosebumps and Isabella Jane doing pitch perfect justice to Another Suitcase in Another Hall.
The 22-strong ensemble, full of well-known performers such as Carlo McFarlane, Mark Richardson and Earl Gregory, doesn’t put a foot wrong. The production is superb in every way and is a powerful piece of political theatre. Don’t miss out on the absolute power of the two leads giving new life to this legendary tale before the production goes on tour.
Event information for Evita – The Musical:
Venue: Teatro at Montecasino, Joburg
Runs until 26 November
Tickets: R150 to R500 at computicket.co.za
Evita will be in Cape Town from 2 December to 7 January, and then the cast will take the production around the world.