South Downe Musical Society perform Evita

Samantha Kelly as Evita and Danny Owen as Juan Peron.
Samantha Kelly as Evita and Danny Owen as Juan Peron.
Picture: Shutterstock

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The story of an Argentine socialite turned first lady was immortalised in the Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice musical Evita in 1978.

Now the South Downe Musical Society is performing the production at Ferneham Hall, Fareham, from July 10-13.

Only two companies in the country have been granted a licence to perform the show, which includes songs such as Oh What A Circus and Don’t Cry For Me Argentina, before it embarks on a national tour next year.

Samantha Kelly, 25, lives at Southsea and has been a member of SDMS for the past four years. She auditioned for the role, her first lead, and could not believe it when she got it.

She says: ‘I’ve always loved Evita the musical for years and years. I wanted to play a leading lady too, and since I was about three years old I wanted to perform. I had to take the opportunity when the auditions came up.

‘I’d had one part in Jesus Christ Superstar a couple of years ago, otherwise I’ve been in the ensemble. I’ve jumped into the biggest leading lady role out there.’

With her family, including her father and grandparents, involved in musicals when she was a child, it was important to Samantha that she took up performing after moving from Ireland.

She explains: ‘I thought it would be nice to do musicals locally and get up on stage. Rehearsals have been tough, we’ve only had nine weeks so it’s quite a short space of time to put on a big show.’

And finding out about the much-loved and equally despised first lady of Argentina, Eva Peron, has been an interesting task.

Samantha says: ‘It’s been fascinating to find out about her. I read her biography. There was two sides where people knew what she did and didn’t like it, and others who saw her as a saint.

‘I watched clips on You Tube which really helped me find out about her. I’ve looked at the way she moved and the way she moved her hands when she gave speeches to the public. I’ve had the time of my life doing it all.’

Tickets: £10.50 to £14 from Ferneham Hall, Fareham, on (01329) 231942 or go to fernehamhall.co.uk