Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Locals Know - Evita

I had the pleasure of attending the very first preview of "Evita" and the production was everything that I wanted it to be. As expected Chilina Kennedy absolutely shone. This production has gotten a lot of criticism even before it opened. Some Shakespeare purists believe a Lloyd Webber play shouldn't be a part of this festival, others simply believe that the real Eva Peron was a money hungry social climber and that there shouldn't be a play about her in the first place. To these nay-sayers I say expand your horizons. This is a lovely production with great performances, some catchy tunes and a wonderful set. The play manages to transport you to another time and place and that is what good theatre is all about.
One of the great things about this show is the set. They have developed a wonderful system that acts like the lens of a camera enabling the director to expand or focus the audiences viewpoint. I found this extremely enticing and loved the way the set was manipulated to help to tell the story. Furthermore the use of video imaging also enhanced the production making it new and interesting. The friend that I attended this show with made a comment at intermission that she found Chilina's voice a little shrill, but I assured her that I felt it was a part of her character, and as her character grew so would Chilina's voice and this was definitely the case. My hat goes off to Chilina for although she is a a very petite woman she caries the big role very successfully.
I have seen this show before many years ago, but over the years I have forgotten a couple of points. This show is somewhat a rock opera, and some of the songs reminded me a lot of "Jesus Christ Superstar." Having said that some of the music is loud and edgy so be prepared. Finally I had forgotten how abruptly this show ends. You discover that Eva Peron's body disappeared for 17 years and then boom bows begin. There is no big finale number to let the audience leave tapping their toes but this too is a representation of the the real life story. Eva Peron clawed her way to stardom, she eventually lived the flashy and glamorous life she had always dreamed of, but then suddenly it all came to an end.
I feel that this production is a welcomed and interesting alternative for Stratford patrons and I hope you enjoy the show as much as I did.

Check out this production clip.

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