Review: Evita At Theatre Royal Brighton
The musical Evita is currently running at the Theatre Royal Brighton; a version of the life of Eva Peron. The lyrics are by Tim Rice, the music by Andrew Lloyd Webber. Lucy O’Byrne stars as Peron; the play is set to tour across the country, running for nearly two and a half hours. The show is on from the 31st of October - 3rd of November. For more ticket and pricing information click here.
Read below for our Evita press night experience on the 30th of October:
The performance begins with the simplest of backdrops; illuminated in a sea-blue hue, the word ‘Evita’ stands out, cut out of images of people. Act one kicks off in glorious, technicolour glamour. Charting Peron’s rise to being the wife of Argentine dictator, Juan Peron, this half sees the humblest of beginnings.
At times the staging is slightly chaotic; a group of women, representing a societal expectation, dance across stage, baiting Peron. She is not the housewife, mother archetype; you can see her ambition playing across her face.
The music doesn’t always work, but it helps actualise the performance; the continuous almost operatic cry throughout of “Pe-ron, Per-on, Per-on, Per-on, Per-on” left me with chills. There’s also an amount of historic detail; there are printing presses, the female fashion of the time, throughout.
Part two is an end of an era; it’s how someone iconic came to die, in what is represented as (faux) patriotism. Peron claims to be a patriot, loyal to her country, yet there are hints of taking money, the cream off the top, to suit her lifestyle.
Evita as a performance needed more grit-the substance to compliment the style. At times I felt as if Eva Peron was left reduced, merely a reductive stereotype; as people we are all three-dimensional. Peron was more nuanced than the ‘gold digger’ role she was given in this performance; this is even stated in the programme I was given prior to the performance.
One example? She helped women in Argentine get the vote, according to the programme. Words used to further this stereotype were also used on stage to make a point. The flip side of this is that it could be seen as showing Peron dealing with the misogynistic attitudes of the time. When men reduce her to a label, she’s quick to fire back, defuse the situation. She’s the one who bites back; lines such as “Little man” are used throughout.
Overall, this was a good night out-something for a family, maybe, particularly if they enjoy musicals. It’s educative, and works well to compliment the film starring Madonna. It may not necessarily be as true-to-life as it could be, but it is entertaining, and is not to be missed.
Written by Lydia Wilkins
Disclaimer: Lydia was given a complimentary ticket in return for this review, but her opinions are her own.