Evita, the political 'Marilyn Monroe' opens in Melbourne - Noise11.com
Tina Arena EVITA photo Jeff Busby

Tina Arena EVITA photo Jeff Busby

Evita, the political ‘Marilyn Monroe’ opens in Melbourne

by Paul Cashmere on December 10, 2018

in News

The story of Eva Peron, as told by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, capsulizes the life of the Argentine first lady of the 40s and 50s, into two hours.

As Webber and Rice based their telling of the story on the book ‘Evita: The Woman and the Whip’, there are questions as to the accuracy of this account. But what the hey, it’s a musical. Many historians claim the book was told from the side of non-Peronism.

Webber and Rice weren’t exactly at the top of their game when they released the first ‘Evita’ album in 1976. They had just come off the back of the 1975 flop ‘Jeeves’ right after reinventing opera with the now classic ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’. Evita jumps back to the Superstar template to frame the Eva Peron story.

Like their main character in ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’, ‘Evita’ is portrayed as a saviour/superstar (and both characters die at 33 too). Webber would develop a partner with his characters that became evident from ‘JC Superstar’ to ‘Evita’ to ‘Cats’.

Musically, Evita is kept to the proven and successful formula of Jesus Christ Superstar. Webber and Rice use similar styles to give Evita the same musical dynamic that made Jesus Christ Superstar flow and a hit.

This new Australian production is all built around Tina Arena as Evita but it is Paulo Szot as Juan Perón and Kurt Kansley as Che who set-up the boundaries of the story for Arena to work.

Baritone Paulo Szot is a seasoned performer who started musical training at age five in Brazil and later studied in Poland. He then returned home to São Paulo to make his operatic debut in II Barbiere di Sivigila.

Kurt Kansley is also an experienced theatre performer who has been on stage in the West End and appeared in the recent Australian production of Jesus Christ Superstar for The Production Company.

What Tina lacked as a ‘poperatic’ performer was carried by the more experienced Szot and Kansley. Having the key role of Eva Peron also gave Tina the best songs of the show and this was where she shone. The overacting was virtually ignored when the voice was singing ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’, the focus song of this musical.

Eva Peron was like a pop star in Argentina. Her story is the classic rags to riches tale. She came from poverty to achieve one of the highest political positions in her country. She was a political Marilyn Monroe and like Monroe who also died in her 30s, ‘the candle burned out long before the legend ever did’.

On a scale of Andrew Lloyd Webber shows from ‘Jeeves’ to ‘Phantom of the Opera’ Evita definitely sits in the top half just behind ‘Jesus Christ Superstar’ but well in front of ‘Cats’.

‘Evita’ is playing at The State Theatre, Melbourne Arts Centre, until February 17.

Follow Noise11 on Twitter for news as it happens

For news as it happens follow Noise11 on Facebook

Noise11.com

Listen to the Noise11 Music News channel now at iHeartRadio

Related Posts

James Taylor at MCA Melbourne 16 April 2024 photo by Winston Robinson
James Taylor Farewells Australia With Final Tour (Melbourne Review)

I could go to a James Taylor show just for the stories. The man is a part of music history and is still around to tell the tales of how it all began. Like, for instance, being the first artist signed to Apple Records. James “auditioned” for Apple with his song ‘Something In The Way She Moves’. "Paul went away and started the label and George went away and wrote the song”, he said.

14 hours ago
The Beatles Let It Be movie
The Beatles Restore Original ‘Let It Be’ Movie for Disney+ … Confirmed

As teased yesterday, The Beatles original 1970 Michael Lindsay-Hogg 'Let It Be' movie has been restored by Peter Jackson and will stream on Disney+ from May 8, 2024.

1 day ago
Let It Be movie The Beatles
The Beatles Tease Upcoming Announcement

There is more movement in The Beatles camp with a cryptic tease added to The Beatles official website over the past few hours.

2 days ago
Marley Brothers
Marley Brothers To Tour in The Family Name

The Marley Brothers have announced a tour to honour their father’s legacy.

2 days ago
Richard Clapton, Photo Ros O'Gorman
Richard Clapton Digs Into The Back Catalogue To Perform Rarities

When Richard Clapton play a Festival we get the concentrated Best of show. When he performs his own shows we get the deeper dive into a remarkable 50+ year career.

2 days ago
Abba
Benny From ABBA Performs ‘Waterloo’ for Pianos in Europe

Benny from ABBA performed a piano only version of the ABBA classic ‘Waterloo’ on a piano in Stockholm, synched to pianos in London, Berlin and Warsaw.

4 days ago
James Hetfield of Metallica at Powertrip photo by Richard Gilkerson
Metallica Perform Elton John’s Funeral For A Friend/Loves Lies Bleeding’ At Gershwin Prize Night

Sir Elton John and Bernie Taupin are the recipients of the Gershwin Prize for 2024 and Metallica came out literally to sing their praises.

5 days ago