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?).
The biggest West End flops
The biggest West End flops
1/10 Viva Forever
Mel B, Mel C, Geri Halliwell, Emma Bunton and Victoria Beckham at the press night of the Spice Girls musical Viva Forever, which turned out to be Viva Fo-Never when it closed on the West End in June 2013 after just six months
2/10 Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark
It cost a massive £48m to make and U2 penned the music, but after main cast members were injured in rehearsal, its opening night was postponed 6 times and its director resigned, Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark has lost so much money it will take 12 years of sell-out shows to make an ounce of profit
3/10 Behind the Iron Mask
Behind the Iron Mask previewed on the West End in summer 2005 but was destroyed by critics and closed just 18 days after its official opening night
4/10 Lord of the Rings
Lord of the Rings opened in Covent Garden in summer 2007 but was criticised for being too long, confusing and dull, leading to a final curtain in 2008 after 492 performances
Gareth Cattermole/Getty Images
5/10 Thoroughly Modern Millie
Britain's Got Talent judge Amanda Holden made her West End debut as Millie in this 1920s flop - critics described her performance as 'thoroughly charmless' and the final curtain fell after 8 months in June 2004
6/10 Desperately Seeking Susan
Blondie's Deborah Harry poses with actresses Emma Williams and Kelly Price as they promote the launch of Desperately Seeking Susan - an odd combo of Madonna's 1985 film and Blondie's music that opened in 2008 and ran for just four weeks with just 200 people watching each night
7/10 Gone With the Wind
Darius Danesh, who sung 'Baby One More Time' during his Pop Idol audition, was cast in the iconic role of Rhett Butler, the show received poor reviews, was too long at over 3.5hrs and closed in 2008 after just 79 shows
Gone With the Wind
Lionel Bart's 1965 Robin Hood musical (you know he has an arrow...twang...) opened with a nightmare first performance involving power failures, last-minute script rewrites and the musical director collapsing - unsurprisingly it closed after 43 shows and a flood of scathing reviews
9/10 Carrie the Musical
The musical adaptation of Stephen King's horror novel received a critical panning when it opened in 1988 - financial backers withdrew and it closed on Broadway after just 16 previews and 5 performances
10/10 Oscar Wilde the Musical
Written and directed by DJ Mike Read to coincide with Wilde's 150th birthday, the show opened at the Shaw Theatre in London on a Tuesday and closed on the Wednesday after the kindest review called it 'the worst musical in the world ever'
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.
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