Evita, Dominion Theatre, review: A strained West End revival

Don’t cry for me Argentina? The only chance of a lachrymose audience at this production is if they’re bored to tears

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

The refurbished Dominion Theatre has reopened after a 14-week dark period with Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd-Webber’s classic, directed unimaginatively by Bob Thompson.

It shows off the new stage apparatus; columns and staircases smoothly glide in and the live orchestra now has a pit! 

But the problem with a classic is people are afraid to mess with it and the result of this revival is a perfect lesson in what Peter Brook calls “dead theatre”.

The music is brilliant as ever; it’s the bits in between the songs that are the problem. The actors’ over-blown gestures seem strained.

Madalena Alberto plays Eva Peron, Argentina’s “spiritual leader”. Her vocal range is fabulous as both a coquettish teenager and imposing First Lady but she lacks charisma.

Her gestures come from another age of theatre altogether (Restoration perhaps?).

 

During her death bed scene we are meant to be moved but I was distracted by her rigid spasms of pain, oddly synchronised with the music.

Marti Pellow, the former lead singer of Wet, Wet, Wet plays a commanding Che and Matthew Cammelle is a statesmanlike Juan Peron.

There's a moving cameo from Sarah McNicholas as Peron's mistress, who manages to wring more emotion from one solo than the others combined.

Don’t cry for me Argentina? The only chance of a lachrymose audience at this production is if they’re bored to tears.

Until 1 Nov; 0845 200 7982

Comments