As a huge fan of the Theatre (well, musicals to be exact), I am always on the lookout for a show that grabs my attention and ideally, I haven’t seen before. So, whilst I may have seen some of the more recent productions, I haven’t seen a few of the classics that have been around for years. Les Miserable? No. 42nd Street? Nope. Evita? No….until last week that is!
I vaguely remember watching the film with Madonna years ago but if I’m honest, I didn’t quite understand the story, or the history behind it, and couldn’t really comprehend why there wasn’t a script per se; it was all singing and Antonio Banderas looking moody – the latter not really being a bad thing! So when I saw that Evita was coming to the Birmingham Hippodrome, I thought now is a good time to give it another chance and see what the fuss was all about.
OMG. In fact I could just write OMG over and over and it still wouldn’t do it justice! I know I’ve recommended some great experiences so far on my journey, but seriously – you must, must, must try and see this show.
To start, I had an amazing seat having got my stalls and circle mixed up – I was only on the front row! Normally you’d think your neck would be aching looking up at the stage but it was just perfect and I had the enviable position of seeing every tiny facial expression from the amazing cast – something that would lead me to tears at a very sad point in the show. And secondly the actor who played Che (the ‘story teller’) was incredibly handsome and paraded around the stage looking every bit as sultry as Antonio Banderas did in the film. Oh and he sounded amazing as well!
As I watched the story of Eva Peron unfold, I was absolutely mesmerised at how this woman, well girl, from the slums rose to stardom and fame. Talk about girl power! Eva had a vision and nothing, and I mean nothing, was stopping her to get what, where or who she wanted. Now some may say her methods were a little unorthodox, but I guess the famous ‘casting couch’ approach has been around a lot longer than Hollywood would let us believe.
Evita didn’t hesitate to step over people, or sleep under them for that matter, to ensure she rose to the top but here’s the clever thing – she appeared to remain ‘one of the people’ and as such, the poorer people of Argentina saw her as their saviour and Evita became the ‘Spiritual Leader of the Nation’. Eva Duarte (as she once was) was no longer recognisable as the poor girl that arrived in Buenos Aires not so many years before.
Eva died at the age of 33 (cervical cancer), and radio broadcasts throughout the country were interrupted with the announcement that “The Press Secretary’s Office of the Presidency of the Nation fulfills its very sad duty to inform the people of the Republic that at 20:25 hours Mrs. Eva Perón, Spiritual Leader of the Nation, died.”
Needless to say, the Nation went into mourning and the theatre I sat in let out a collective sob.
As I left with mascara running down my face, and duly played the soundtrack on the way home, I couldn’t get Eva Peron from my mind. I’m not saying I agree with her tactics, but you can’t knock the woman for trying – for me she epitomised the very essence of having a dream; a goal and not stopping until she achieved it.
Maybe we could all learn a little from her about vision and belief – we’d probably all get a little further in life if we did.
N.B. I’ve since watched the film version and oh boy, it all makes so much more sense now!
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