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Evita | Leicester Curve

Curve Theatre has brought Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita back to Leicester this winter with a fresh and tantalising vision. This musical tells the story of Argentina’s First Lady Eva Perón, and her rise through fame to become a notable figure in the political sphere. In this 2023 production, artistic director Nikolai Foster takes a 21st Century angle; he depicts Eva’s journey to stardom through the lens of social media, drawing parallels in the way that we see many influencers reach notoriety today.


The set design (Michael Taylor) for this show is deceptively minimalistic with a bare stage, no wings, and pieces of scenery that are brought on and off stage by the actors. However, with this reduced scenery brings the ability to effectively layer the story, building the bright lights and utilising the multiple props as Eva climbs the social ladder and realises her own ambitions. The main feature that remained on stage throughout was the cameras, one resembling a television set and the other portable being carried by several different actors. The live footage captured onstage was shown on a large screen at the back of the stage. Conceptually, this was an extremely insightful addition to this production that heavily focuses upon the divided opinions of Evita’s self-serving nature or dedication to her country. As an audience we can see what’s behind the camera, as well as what’s in front; as much as this is an aesthetically pleasing feature of the set design, it also provides intimacy between ourselves and Eva.


Her whole life was metaphorically on a stage and is literally on stage for us whether it is in front of a camera or not, giving a new meaning to appearance versus reality and the ability to see deeper into a person’s psyche. It is one thing to have an excellent concept, it is another to execute this concept so precisely with complete accuracy and professionalism. The ability of the different actors handling the camera to maintain the correct angles whilst in the middle of big number was extremely impressive, Rainbow High was a perfect example of this. Eva ‘must have excitement’ and this number matched with the mirrors, fans, camera angles and energetic dancing certainly gave us that!



 The ensemble for this production were a powerhouse and gave every ounce of energy they had into every dance whilst working very cohesively with one another. Edd Lindley’s costuming assisted the production very well, the ensemble was kept minimalistic wearing black, which allowed them to become whatever character they needed to with ease. Eva Perón by contrast wore several beautiful suits and dresses, highlighting the growing stature of the character very clearly. Adam Murray made a very impressive curve debut as choreographer for Evita, every dance came with fresh choreography, reflecting and emphasising poignant moments in the show. The stand out performance of the night, without a doubt has to go to Martha Kirby, Eva Perón herself. Her casting for this role was impeccable, she embodied the role completely as if it were meant for her. The clarity and expression in her voice was hypnotic, she took us on a journey of emotions from complete joy to heart-breaking sorrow. Kirby had to not only perform to the audience but also to the cameras continually following her, and with some extremely close angles she still never looked flustered or tired, she maintained poise and elegance throughout.

 

This was a wonderful performance that had everyone on their feet at curtain call. It was a fresh take on a well-known musical that gave a new perspective on a woman’s life in fame and politics surrounded by scrutiny. Evita will be running at Curve Theatre until the 13th January.


⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

 

AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Marc Brenner

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