The showstopping tunes of hit musical Evita brought a taste of Latin America to Salisbury. Musical Theatre Salisbury (MTS) took centre stage on Monday night in its latest production at Salisbury Playhouse.
The musical charts the story of Eva Peron, the wife of former Argentinian president Juan Peron, and takes us back to her humble beginnings in Junin and her rise to popularity as she becomes a radio star before meeting her future husband at a fundraising event.
We follow the journey of Eva’s rise into the hearts of Argentinians and how she helps gather support for her husband — helping his political rise to power.
Laura Simmons put in an amazing performance in the title role of Eva Peron supported by Dave Simmons in the role of Juan Peron. Her voice was beautiful.
The production featured well-known songs including the very memorable Don’t Cry for Me Argentina.
The whole cast put in a superb performance and Barry Gibney was brilliant as he guided audiences through the story as narrator Che, helping to bring the story together.
Southern Daily Echo
Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical, charting the rise of Eva Duarte from humble upbringing to virtual sainthood in troubled Argentina, is justifiably one of their most successful.
Laura Simmons is stunning in the lead role, lively in the first-half but really shining after the interval, as the people’s icon, Evita.
Her delivery of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina was spellbinding, resplendent in a beautiful white gown and her subsequent descent into ill-health and ultimate demise were sensitively played.
As narrator Che, Barry Gibney was excellent and crystal-clear in his delivery, and Dave Simmons was strong as Juan Peron. Martyn Boniface acquitted himself well as Tango singer Magaldi.
The minimalist set put the emphasis on the action and Director Ben Occhipinti had good support from Musical Director Liz Weager.
I first saw Evita many years ago when the show was on a National Tour after its initial West End run. I was not overly impressed by it at the time and even after seeing the film, which I thought was more enjoyable, I cannot say that it was a show that I would want to see again. Therefore I did have slight reservations about seeing this show.
I have to say my wife and I were both absolutely stunned and amazed by this magnificent MTS production. Quite simply it rates as one of the best amateur productions that we have ever seen.
The two leading roles, Che and Eva, were both outstanding; their performances were equal to any that I have seen in the theatres of the West End. Eva’s rendition of “Don’t Cry for Me Argentina” was, in my opinion, the best that I have ever heard it sang.
I thought that the direction was excellent the company were totally focused on their performance and seemed to move as one.
The costumes simple but very effective. The scenery was just flats with a mirror effect around the stage, with just chairs and a rostrum, that were moved by the cast members to create the different scenes.
The small orchestra was excellent, the microphones faultless and sound balance perfect.
All theatre companies are struggling to attract an audience in the present economic climate so it was very pleasing to see a full theatre, and I understand they were on budget to make a profit, well done to the team at MTS.