EVITA REVIEW: Better than ever and simply ‘unmissable’ at the Bristol Hippodrome
- Credit: Pamela Raith
Emma Hatton is high flying adored as Eva Peron in a majestic staging of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s Evita at the Bristol Hippodrome - in an unmissable ensemble performance which is unlikely to be bettered.
West End leading lady Hatton takes on one of musical theatre’s most iconic roles with an intensity and power which is unmatched by recent incarnations of the show. Backed by an outstanding ensemble which brings on goosebumps with the rousing rendition of Requiem For Evita in the opening minutes, Hatton dazzles on stage as one of history’s controversial characters.
With a voice as powerful as Hatton’s, the vulnerability and frailty of young Eva Duarté - a girl dreaming of being an actress and flung into a world dominated by men and the powerful middle classes - could be easily lost. Yet through all the flourishes in young Eva’s life from wannabe-screen starlet, turned seductress, to the first lady of Argentina, Hatton embodies every version of Evita aplomb.
She is supported impeccably by Gian Marco Schiaretti, whose credits come to only five lines in the programme, as Che. Yet Schiaretti dominates the stage in the narrator role with a strong and versatile voice. When he needs to fade into the background and let the others take centre stage, he does so seamlessly. His credits may be short, but this actor is surely destined for even greater things.
Kevin Stephen-Jones, too, as Eva’s husband and Argentinean President Juan Peron, has an outstanding vocal range. His strength adds greater weight to Hatton’s performance when she takes on the most emotional scenes in the show. His power in the closing stages of the performance enhances her fragility - and their final moments together on stage are nothing short of mesmerising.
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The ensemble performers shine. Their voices blend effortlessly, and their dancing is exquisite. From the middle class ladies, to the soldiers always ready to bring a violent end to the Peron Presidency, no one on stage put a foot wrong.
Many have dared to take on the role of Eva Peron - the wife of an Argentinean dictator, loved and loathed in equal measure. But Hatton is simply unmissable.
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If you are looking to watch Evita at its very best, this is the show you have to see. And take it from me - I’ve seen a few versions of it.
Evita is playing at the Bristol Hippodrome, in St Augustine’s Parade, from now to Saturday, with evening performances at 7.30pm each night and matinee performances at 2.30pm today (Wednesday), tomorrow (Thursday) and Saturday.
Tickets, priced £17.90-49.40, are available from 08448 713012 or via www.atgtickets.com