REVIEW: Evita returns with a standing ovation on opening night

Runs until Saturday 13th October.

Above, Mike Sterling (Juan Perón), Lucy O'Byrne (Eva Perón) and the cast of Evita UK Tour (Photo by Pamela Raith)

From the pen and musical genius of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, the iconic production Evita took to the stage at the Millennium Forum and received a standing ovation on opening night.

Evita tells the story of Eva Peron, the wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron. It follows her journey from humble beginnings, to her extraordinary wealth, power and iconic status which ultimately lead her to be heralded as the 'spiritual leader of the nation' by the Argentine people.

It felt as if we were transported to London’s West End for the evening. The very stage of the Forum seemed to expand and caress the cast, as the lighting and beautiful set helped to make the audience feel part of this excellent production which was littered with amazing  performances.

I can truly say that this was a musical in its purest form. The narration and interaction between all of the characters were entirely conveyed through song. With iconic classics such as ‘Don't Cry For Me Argentina’, ‘On This Night Of A Thousand Stars’, ‘You Must Love Me’, and ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’, the crowd had their fill of pleasers.

The performance was slick and the pace was full on as we were kept on our toes while watching the events unfold.  The stage props seemed to glide with their own graceful dance movements across the floorboards, as the set was transformed throughout without the need for any pause in the flow of the action. It was a masterpiece of a production.

The performances of the cast members were superb. They never missed a beat and the calibre of the the singing was excellent. It was pure, clear and magical to listen to.  Led by three of the finest musical theatre stars, were Lucy O’Byrne who performed the iconic role of Eva Perón, Mike Sterling as her husband and Argentine President Juan Perón  and Glenn Carter as Ché.

The musical accompaniment of an orchestra in the pit, also added to the quality of the performance and the feel of a West End show right here in our own local theatre.

I thoroughly enjoyed this wonderful production of Evita as did the rest of audience which was evident from the standing ovation and exuberant clapping and cheering at the end of the evening.

One of the biggest cheers of the night however went to a local talent A very gifted young girl from the Foyle School of Speech and Drama who performed a solo that was worthy of any London stage. It was wonderful to see so much homegrown talent on show as students from the North West Regional College also helped to bolster the stage numbers, and excel alongside their West End counterparts.

On seeing this great production, it was obvious as to why Evita has been on the receiving end of five star reviews throughout the tour. A musical theatre classic which has been beautifully performed.

Evita runs at the Millennium Forum until Saturday 13th October. Book your tickets here.


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