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Posts Tagged ‘argentina’

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There can’t be many theatre goers who have not at least heard of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical Evita, which tells the story of Argentine First Lady Eva Peron. And surely any musicals fan worth their salt knows the shows most famous song, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina. I saw my first production of this musical back in 2013; I went to see it pretty much on a whim and was absolutely blown away by it, so when I heard that another production of the show was touring, I just knew I had to see it.

In this particular production, Emma Hatton – fresh from the West End production of Wicked – takes the title role and Gian Marco Shiaretti has been making waves with his excellent performance as the cynical narrator Che.

However, during the performance that we saw, Che was played by understudy Matias Stegmann – and he certainly did not disappoint!! With arguably the largest part in the whole play, tasked with relating Eva’s story to the audience while maintaining a healthy cynicism about how effective she actually was in her role of First Lady, Matias Stegmann radiated star quality – he had a beautiful voice and the charisma required for the role and I will be looking out for this actor in the future.

Emma Hatton as Evita was also superb throughout – her voice is second to none and her rendition of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina actually moved me to tears. This is the song that the audience was waiting for and she did not disappoint – as she stood on the balcony ready to begin, you could have heard a pin drop in the auditorium. What pressure!! I must also mention Sarah O’Connor, who played Juan Peron’s girlfriend (ousted when the social climbing and ambitious Eva came on the scene) and who performed the beautiful Another Suitcase Another Hall wonderfully. Such a sweet sweet voice – another one to look out for in future. Kudos also to Kevin Stephen-Jones as Juan Peron. Peron himself is actually not a major role in the play, but Stephen-Jones nevertheless stood out in the part.

With beautiful music and a stellar cast, this show is one to look out for – if you get chance, I highly highly recommend that you go and see it!

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Click here for my review of the 2013 production of Evita

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In this enchanting true story, Tom Michell relates how in the 1970s, when he was in his early 20s and teaching in an Agentinian boys boarding school, he encountered a penguin who became his best friend. He saw the penguin on a beach covered in oil and near death as the result of a recent oil slick and on an impulse decided to rescue him and clean him up, with the intention of then releasing him back into the wild. However, the penguin refused to leave his side, and so after naming him Juan Salvador, Michell became the proud adopter (or adoptee?) of his new feathered friend.

Juan Salvador soon becomes a favourite among staff and students alike at the boarding school and brings a little magic into all of their lives. Through his and Tom Michell’s story, the reader also learns a little about the Argentinian political situation at the time, and how badly inflation was affecting the poorest in the country, and there is also some insight into life in the boarding school.

Mostly though, this is Juan Salvador’s story; it is he who is the true focus of the book, and what a delight he is. Michell describes the penguin’s own little personality and quirks and really brings him to life on the page.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book – it’s a quick read, both because it is only just over 200 pages, and also because I didn’t want to put it down. Highly recommended.

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Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s famous collaboration Evita, which charts the life of Eva Peron, first lady of Argentina, until her premature death in 1952.  In this production, Madalena Alberto plays the eponymous heroine, with Marti Pellow talking on the role of Che.  The songs are well known and include Another Suitcase, Another Hall; On This Night of a Thousand Stars, Buenos Aires, You Must Love Me, and of course Don’t Cry For Me Argentina.  They all sounded fantastic, due to the incredible talent of the cast and the orchestra.  Pellow, who actually takes the largest role, and who is on stage almost all of the time, as part cynical observer, part narrator, was charismatic and perfect for the role of Che.

Eva’s life is covered with big leaps from era to era – if it was”t based on a true story, you might hardly believe it – and the way that Eva visibly aged throughout the show, from her time as a teenager with high hopes, to the girlfriend then wife of Juan Person – was very well done.

The famous balcony scene was beautifully done, and brought tears to my eyes ( and in fact, there were several audience members wiping away tears at the extremely emotional end scenes).

Having heard and read reviews, I went into the show with high expectations – and they were exceeded in every single way.  My sole regret is that I did not get tickets for another performance of this show, because it was truly wonderful from start to finish.

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Click here for my review of the 2017 production of Evita.

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