Evita still has the power to move audiences who flock to see it
Hall for Cornwall
With one of the most dynamic productions in the history of the cherished Hall for Cornwall Evita has proved a magnificent attraction.
Gripping in pace, hugely energetic in presentation and star-dusted by three top individual performances, this show came with a world-wide reputation from stage and screen.
The crisp firm lyrics of Cornish resident Tim Rice with their humorous and cynical throwaways and the melodies of Andrew Lloyd Webber again touched thousands of hearts.
It is rare for a musical to run for two weeks here but the many sell-out capacity audiences have more than justified the challenge. There were standing ovations at matinee and evening shows as the colourful story enthused time and again, despite its familiarity.
Three distinguished interpretations were of huge West End rating, with Madalena Alberto such a visual reflection of Eva with a faultless display, both in youth and old age,
Marti Pellow as Che – also almost constant centre stage from opening to final curtain – and Mark Heenhehan as the realistic Peron.
Backed by a 14-strong ensemble that swept plot and musical numbers fervently along and talented children's groups from Stagecoach Truro and Penzance, the rise and rise of Eva was vividly presented.
Top quality lighting and sound, exciting choreography and the musical direction of Matthew Loughran, ensured the drama, the pathos, the joy, glory and agony were maintained.
I have vivid memories of visiting a huge European cathedral where the golden gifts of the visiting Eva were still on display.
Bill Kenwright and Bob Tomson, the directors, have welded together in this touring show a stylish company that Cornwall is unlikely to see equalled for some time. And congratulations to HfC director Julien Boast and his team. The brilliant Madalena, actress and singer supreme, grew from cafe girl to superstar and president's wife as she superbly developed the role and the Don't Cry for Me Argentina theme.
Former pop star Marti displayed his humour, guile and experience as the wily commentator, ever wheeling the stage with advice and abandon. And American actor Mark was a convincing look-alike Peron, imposing, tough and tender.
They were a contrasting international-class trio that made Evita memorable and as large as life.
The show continues today and tomorrow (Friday and Saturday) at 7.30pm.