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Review | Evita | Curve Theatre Leicester | 09/12/2023

‘Out there’ Andrew Lloyd Webber revivals are everywhere you look at the moment; from the current Jesus Christ Superstar UK tour to Jamie Lloyd’s reimagining of Sunset Boulevard in the West End. A new show can now be added to this list, with Curve’s revival of Evita playing as their 2023 Christmas show.

Much like Jesus Christ Superstar, this musical began life as a concept album before finding a life on stage. Based loosely on the life of Eva Perot, we follow her meteoric rise and fall.

Entering the auditorium, the Evita logo is projected onto a black curtain covering the stage entirely. It is immediately apparent that Nikolai Foster’s version of Evita will be unlike any that you will have seen before, which is in its favour. The production is stripped back, allowing the audience to be captivated by the performances and bold stylistic choices.

Michael Taylor’s industrial stage design is deliberately stark. From movable staircases to a raising platform, we are forced to (quite literally) look up to Eva. The story doesn’t always paint her in the best light, which makes everything that bit more interesting. Use of steady cams to project live images of the performers made this production stand out. A large rectangular screen lowered at certain points to facilitate this. From its shape alone being reminiscent of a smartphone, connotations were clear that Evita was being imagined as a modern day influencer.

Martha Kirby takes on the unenviable task of playing Eva, a role previously played originally by Elaine Paige in London and Patti LuPone on Broadway. Kirby takes us through Eva’s short life, becoming more interesting as the character develops but is captivating throughout. Her performance of ‘Don’t Cry For Me Argentina’ is powerfully built from an understated at the start to a powerful end. She gives the audience everything they came for and more.

We are reminded about the complexity of her character by narrator Che (Tyrone Huntley). Huntley is a revelation in this role, a real backbone to the show. His chemistry with Kirby in particular is sublime.

Particular mention should go to the ensemble who have been expertly choreographed by Adam Murray. From fan-ography to the hilarious camp high society, they command your attention throughout keeping the energy at 100 whilst breathing new life into the classic score.

The show itself is snappy, with time flying by in an instant. Being sung through alongside some bold stylistic choices made the show challenging to follow at points. However, it is impossible not to enjoy this bold reinterpretation of the Andrew Lloyd Webber classic. Evita plays at Curve until Saturday 13 January 2024.

Note: My ticket was gifted. Irrespective of whether a show is gifted or bought, I always ensure that my reviews are fair and based on my honest opinion alone.


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