Artsclub Theatre Company

Dates: 29 April - 13 June 2004 Venue: Stanley Theatre

Reviewer: John Jane




Director: Bill Millerd; Musical Director: Bruce Kellett; Choreographer: Valerie Easton; Set Design: Ted Roberts; Costume Design: Alison Green


Lovena B. Fox as Eva Peron

Evita is a musical adaptation of Argentine actress-turned-politician Maria Eva Duarte de Peron's short, but eventful life. Eva Peron was affectionately known as Evita by the working class masses whom she claimed to represent. She achieved legendary status mainly through the mutual contempt she had with the nobility of her country and her death at such an early age.

Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice’s musical score is brilliant, even by their own high standards. Don’t Cry for Me, Argentina and A New Argentina are among the show’s songs that are instantly recognizable.

The story begins dramatically in a Buenos Aires cinema in 1952 and the announcement of Eva Peron’s death at age 33. Mourning cinema patrons (ensemble) sing Requiem for Evita while ‘black & white' newsreel footage of Evita’s state funeral is projected onto a white backdrop.

Lovena B. Fox is mesmerizing in the role of the central character. The exotic soprano barely sings a wrong note throughout her performance. She is playful as Eva the vivacious teenager, desperate to escape the poverty of her rural village, and moving as the fading icon close to death in the final scenes.

Shiamak is Che

Fox gets ample support from co-stars, David Adams and Shiamak. Operatic baritone Adams is exceptional as he lends his powerful voice to the role of Juan Peron. He even has a passing physical resemblance to the late Argentine president.





Bollywood actor, Shiamak works well as the cynical, omnipresent narrator, Ché. His voice is not his greatest asset, but he does manage to inject personality into this transparent role. The character is roughly modeled on Ché Guevara, however, historical fact does not support any encounter between Madam Peron and the infamous Marxist revolutionary.

Matt Palmer, despite having a pleasant voice, is unconvincing as the tango singer, Augustin Magaldi; "the man who discovers Eva Duarte".

Amy Wallis makes the most of her small role as Perón's displaced mistress. Her rendition of Another Suitcase in Another Hall as she heads out on her own is certainly one of the highlights of the first act. One of the many second act highlights is the ‘Santa Evita' scene with children and workers singing No Llores Por Mi, Argentina (Spanish version of Don't Cry for Me, Argentina).

Lovena B. Fox & David Adams as the Perons

Alison Green’s costumes and flamboyant uniforms accurately reflect time and place in mid century Argentina. Ted Roberts’ economic set design is more basic, consisting of sliding panels depicting faceless crowds on a normally bare stage.

With the absence of an orchestra pit, the six-member band are positioned behind the stage on a mezzanine platform. Generally unseen by the audience until they appear with the entire cast at the end of the show to acknowledge the audience applause.

In a final irony, unstated in this production, Peron briefly returned to power again in 1973 and installed his third wife Isabel as Vice President - a title much coveted by Eva. Peron died less than a year after being elected and Isabel became Argentina's first female president.

© 2004, John Jane