REVIEW: Evita, Mayflower Theatre, Southampton

Bill Kenwright's production of Evita
Bill Kenwright's production of Evita
Jack Edwards, who starred in the Kings Theatre panto as Sarah Spoilit, will host this year's Guide Awards

Guide awards night is getting closer – don’t forget to book your free tickets

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For many years, Evita was bound by a covenant preventing any new production of the show. Audiences were only ever going to see a repetition of the West End version.

This is no longer the case, and the Bill Kenwright version, has some blazingly good, new ideas threaded through it.

It’s possibly, the best-sung version of the show I’ve heard, with cut-glass diction and every harmony ringing clear as a bell.

There is nothing minor about the performers in the minor roles of Magaldi and Peron’s Mistress; Oscar Balmasada and Sarah O’Connor are both excellent. Kevin Stephen-Jones gives a subtle, considered Peron with a beautifully pure baritone, but as Che, Gian Marco’s amazing voice is let down by a stylised performance.

The evening, of course, belongs to Emma Hatton (who uncannily resembles Elaine Paige in the same role). Vocally she is more subtle than Paige, moving easily between her belt and soprano top-notes. She’s also a strong actor, particularly convincing in Eva’s slow, fatal descent into illness.

The politically-naïve libretto is clever and the orchestrations rich. Well worth a visit.