This week’s performance of Evita at the New Theatre in Cardiff is powerful but lacks emotion.
While the sets, costumes and choreography are all stunning at times, and some of the vocal performances are powerful, the production lacks the emotional clout needed to make it work as a tragedy.
The audience needs to like the tragic heroine, Eva Peron, despite her faults, and this does not happen despite a competent performance by Madalena Alberto.
This Evita is a cold, hard, ambitious and manipulative woman and there’s little to redeem her.
The character needs to have a vulnerable side for the pathos of her early death to work, something captured magnificently by Madonna in the film version of the musical.
There’s little to like about this Evita and Alberto’s voice was shrill at times.So unattractive is this Eva that the audience identifies more with the upper class ladies of Argentine high society who shun her, rather than the heroine herself despite some staggering moments by Alberto.
Former Wet Wet Wet singer Marti Pellow dishes out an impressive vocal performance as Che, his voice was particularly sweet during Dance For Eva and Che, but his portrayal of the character is somewhat cheesy.
Young Welsh singer Sarah McNicholas is one of the highlights in this joint production by Bill Kenwright and Bob Tomson.
The singer, from Swansea, delivered a heartfelt rendition of Another Suitcase in Another Hall and the audience was transfixed.
The most impressive part of this sumptuous production is the glorious stage design and choreography during crowd scenes.
Vocally, Mark Heenehan’s Juan Peron and Alberto’s Eva are impressive, and the military, café and funeral scenes are breathtaking at times.
But, sadly, there is something missing in this visually stunning production.