The teens have gone to Sweden for two weeks without us, that leaves Mr CW and I free to go to the theatre. When I saw that Evita was on I knew I had to see it. Wayback in 1977 my father came home one day clutching the concept album of Evita with Julie Covington and Barbara Dixon. That record got played so much that I fear it may have got worn out. A year later it came to the London stage with much ballyhoo and Elaine Paige in the lead role. We lived in Norwich and going to London was a rare event in itself, going to the theatre in London was unheard of and so whilst being word perfect I have never seen the show.
First thing to say it all makes so much more sense now that I’ve seen the stage show. Che is just a narrator, never actually interacts with Eva or anybody, just the story teller. It always bothered me that Che Guevara was shown as being in Argentina at the time of the rise of the Perons. I know he got around but as far I as I understand it he didn’t spend significant periods of time in Argentina. With that historical nit pick over it’s time to get on with enjoying a fine piece of musical theatre.
Broadly the story told is a true one, of the ascent to power of Eva Peron from an ignored illegitimate child in a poor town to her country’s First Lady. She was young, beautiful, determined and clever and defeated the odds. When the young Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber came up with idea for the show her story was not much known outside Argentina. Together they wove fine lyrics and hummable tunes together and made her story one the best known.
Forty years on the songs are still good. Seeing a production made the plot so much clearer, just being older helped with understanding some of the subtler points. The performers are very good but I am afraid that I do wish that it had been Julie Covington and Barbara Dixon up there singing, with the voices that they had forty years ago, of course!
Evita is playing at the Phoenix Theatre on Tottenham Court Road until 14 October 2017, tickets cost from £25 – £82