Leicester Curve’s revival of “Evita” is a theatrical triumph that immerses the audience in a world of political intrigue, celebrity culture, and the mesmerising rise of Eva Perón. The outstanding set and lighting design, orchestrated by Michael Taylor and Joshie Hariette, respectively, elevate the production to new heights. The stage, flooded by a series of moving lighting rigs, transforms seamlessly from a bleak and barren backdrop to a versatile space that mirrors the multifaceted nature of Eva’s journey.
Martha Kirby, in the role of Eva Perón, is nothing short of extraordinary. Her portrayal is a tour de force, marked by a beautiful voice that effortlessly navigates the emotional nuances of the character. Kirby not only captures the essence of Eva but also delivers a stunning characterisation that resonates with the complexity of this historical figure. From her humble beginnings to the height of power, Kirby’s performance is a masterclass in both vocal prowess and dramatic finesse.
Tyrone Huntley as Che is a revelation, bringing to life a character with a compelling voice and a commanding stage presence. His dynamic performance adds depth to the production, complementing Kirby’s Eva with a charisma that captivates the audience. The chemistry between Kirby and Huntley forms the backbone of the show, creating a synergy that propels the narrative forward.
Gary Milner’s portrayal of Perón is vocally exceptional, reaching its zenith in the poignant duet ‘You Must Love Me,’ originally a solo for Eva. Milner’s performance, alongside Kirby, creates a powerful dynamic that resonates with emotional intensity. The decision to adapt the duet showcases the production team’s willingness to take risks, resulting in a fresh and evocative interpretation of the classic song.
Chumisa Dornford-May, in the role of Mistress and cover for Eva Perón, adds a layer of nuance to the production. Her performance, though in a supporting role, contributes to the richness of the narrative, offering a different perspective on Eva’s journey. Dan Partridge’s addition to the cast as Magaldi brings a fresh dynamic, further enhancing the ensemble’s collective talent.
The production’s bold exploration of politics and celebrity status is a standout feature. The innovative use of live video feeds serves as a window into the turbulent world of Eva Perón, exposing the audience to the highs and lows of her journey. This narrative device adds a contemporary layer to the story, drawing parallels to the modern fascination with celebrity culture.
The avant-garde nature of this production, directed by Nikolai Foster, is a testament to Curve’s commitment to pushing artistic boundaries. The creative team, including musical supervisor Stephen Brooker and choreographer Adam Murray, collaborates seamlessly to deliver a visually stunning and thematically rich experience. Edd Lindley’s costume design, Joshie Hariette’s lighting, and Adam Fisher’s sound design contribute to the immersive atmosphere, transporting the audience to 20th-century Argentina.
It’s essential to acknowledge the ensemble, whose tenacity and commitment enhance the production’s impact. Tia Antoine-Charles, Jacob Atkins, Tanisha-Mae Brown, Harrison Burley, Harry Chandler, Shona Eaton, Jacob Fisher, Olivia Foster Browne, Ashley Gilmour, Jack Harrison-Cooper, Jordan Isaac, Tamsin January, Fallon Mondlane, Samuel Routley, Toby Seddon, Darcey Simmons, and Rebecca Wickes collectively elevate the energy on stage, adding depth to every scene.
Adam Murray’s electric choreography infuses the production with energy and dynamism, seamlessly integrating movement into the narrative. His innovative approach contributes to the overall spectacle, making every dance sequence a visual feast for the audience.
The dedication to the late Curve Associate Artist and Casting Director, Kay Magson, adds a poignant layer to the production. Magson’s legacy lives on through the phenomenal casting choices, with Martha Kirby, Tyrone Huntley, Chumisa Dornford-May, and Dan Partridge at the forefront.
In conclusion, “Evita” at Leicester Curve is not just a musical; it’s a theatrical event that transcends the boundaries of traditional storytelling. The fusion of exceptional performances, innovative staging, and a daring approach to narrative make this production a must-see. The legendary score, brought to life by a nine-piece band led by musical director Ben van Tienen, ensures that every note resonates with the passion and intensity that defines this iconic musical. Don’t miss the opportunity to witness history unfold on stage – secure your tickets now for an unforgettable journey with Eva Perón and this stellar cast.
Evita plays at the Leicester Curve until 13th January. Tickets available here.
Photography throughout from Marc Brenner.