REVIEW: Exmouth Musical Theatre Company’s ‘Evita’ proves a stunner
PUBLISHED: 18:30 07 December 2016
Picture: Emma Crane of Exmouth Photo Services
It was a Rainbow High finish for the cast of Evita, marking another successful show by the Exmouth Musical Theatre Company (EMCo).
The audience was transported to the streets of Buenos Aires to relive Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s popular West End musical about a poor girl who rose to be loved by her people.
Jo Killoran was at home in the shoes of Argentina’s first lady Eva Peron, switching from wily seductress to a vulnerable and broken shell as Eva’s health declined.
Her performance of Don’t Cry For Me Argentina rung effortlessly around the Exmouth Pavilion. Killoran looked every inch a matriarch of a country, dressed in a sparkling ball gown, singing out to an adoring crowd.
Lance Vernon drew the eye as Che, narrating the rise and fall of the titular character, and leading the charge in the humorous number Good Night and Thank-You as Eva said farewell to her unwanted male lovers.
In contrast, Another Suitcase In Another Hall served to remind the audience of Eva’s determination and ruthlessness.
After seducing Juan Peron, she threw out his former mistress, played by Frankie Parry. Parry’s powerful yet vulnerable rendition of the popular song was one of the highlights in the first act.
The performance also achieved the right balance when tackling the musical’s political themes, with numbers such as Rainbow Tour, The Art of the Possible and A New Argentina, the powerful finale which showed Juan Peron finally rising to power.
In his debut role for the company, James Billington (Peron) carried the responsibility as the soldier-turned-president, and his rich lower register worked well in harmony with Killoran in I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You.
The soloists were backed by an incredible chorus, whose harmonies were spectacular throughout the show, starting with the haunting Requiem for Evita.
The cast also carried off intricate dance routines, including Argentine Tango steps, set by director and choreographer Debra Butler.
This powerful EMCo production was enhanced by stunning costumes, slick changes and an impressive set - and for the crowd, the show definitely hit all the right notes.