Evita Review West End London Dominion Theatre Marti Pellow

Enjoy Celebrity Radio’s Evita Review West End London Dominion Theatre Marti Pellow….

So, it’s September 2014 and Evita enjoys its third West End opening night in London.

Tonight at the Dominion Theatre, a full house were on their feet for this limited run through November.

It’s the world renowned musical about the Argentinian political phenomenon Eva Peron that had a massive impact on the world and made a huge fortune for Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice in 1978 when it first opened. It’s wowed crowds around the world ever since.

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This show contains some of Lloyd Webber’s most exquisite musical genius including ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ & ‘Another Suitcase Another Hall’ and ‘Oh, What a circus’ – The first two have never been sung better!

This new production (in the newly renovated Dominion) feels fresh but at times slightly dated in style. There’s something about Webber’s legendary harmonies that leaves you wondering, “can they hear the band?”. Having said that there were moments in this revival that literally lifted roof and deservedly set the audience on fire!

The show opens with a death. At a time when most West End shows finish with a corpse, it was quite refreshing. The story is emotional, moving and loud….incredibly loud!

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Narrated by ‘Wet Wet Wet’ headliner Marti Pellow, he sadly left me cold being my least favourite and impressive Star in the show. Vocally average compared to an otherwise stunning cast.

Appearing alongside Pellow is the brilliantly powerful Ben Forster as Agustin Magadi. This ‘talent show’ winner has a phenomenal voice and is by far the most impressive male performer in the show. Sometimes operatic, sometimes crooner/pop – he truly has a gift!

Most impressively Madalena Alberto was divine as the inimitable Eva. Gorgeous on every level with over 30 costume changes she must be exhausted by the end of the show before she’s even sung a note. Her voice is like silk – breathtakingly beautiful, pure and incredibly well controlled, moving and passionate….the epitome of Eva in my book! She’s a Broadway Star any day now!

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Bill Kenwright is not renowned for big production sets but this is probably his best staging to date. Although not on the scale of Miss Saigon or Wicked, it does a great job of filling the enormous space at the Dominion. Considering it’s a limited run, the entire team can only be applauded for their efforts.

The huge ensemble (biggest I’ve seen in a long time) really do come together perfectly. The synergy of voices is impressive, beautifully amplified although some of the choreography could do with a little polish.

I’m glad I’ve seen Evita, and there were moments of genius, however, for me it was at times painful to listen to, dated and musically repetitive. They’ve certainly made the best of the £1 million ‘We WIll Rock You’ PA system – no hearing aids needed at Evita!

There’s a lot of choice in the West End and Evita wouldn’t be in my top 10, which is a great shame as Madalena’s 11 O’clock number was nothing short of spectacular.  She should win a huge award and this show deserves to be a sell-out for her performance alone.

I guess I wanted to love this show more….


Until Nov 1. Tickets: 0845 200 7982 – www.dominiontheatre.com

Review by Alex Belfield 22nd September 2014 for Celebrity Radio.