Evita UK Tour (Leeds) Review
Hellooo! Yesterday afternoon I took myself over to Leeds to see Evita at the Leeds Grand Theatre. I'd been thinking about going for a while and then literally two days before the performance, I decided to just do it, knowing I'd regret it if I didn't go. I'd had my eyes on one very specific seat and had been checking its availability and all was good until I went to book it and someone had beaten me to it! I ended up sitting on the far left of the second row of the upper circle. The row wasn't a whole lot higher than the front row of that section so there were a couple of heads in the way but considering the fact that I booked the seat 2 days earlier, it was a decent view. There'a a cheeky panoramic picture above and a regular picture down below.
I watched the film version of Evita a few weeks ago when I was trying to decide whether to go or not and I definitely preferred the stage version as I found the story easier to follow and I just love going to the theatre really! Emma Hatton starred as Eva Peron and having seen her play Elphaba in Wicked a couple of years ago, I found it fascinating to see how she adapted to playing Eva. Wicked and Evita are two completely different musicals with different musical styles and going from the fictional land of Oz to the real-world country of Argentina. Emma was as incredible as Eva as she was as Elphaba and it really showed her versatility and amazing talent as an actress playing such contrasting character. Her voice was stunning throughout both the more subdued vocal parts and the powerhouse sections such as Don't Cry For Me Argentina which almost had me in tears! I also felt that she played a dying Eva Peron amazingly as she really did look frail and her singing sounded tired and fragile which made the scenes even more emotional.
I thought the costumes throughout the production were gorgeous, particularly the white dress Eva wore during Don't Cry For Me Argentina and the set throughout was an impressive backdrop. Although I couldn't really see at the time due to my seat in the theatre, I loved the use of makeup throughout the show which was also documented in the Evita programme. Speaking of the programme, they were selling a bundle of the Leeds Grand Theatre house programme and the Evita souvenir brochure for £10 so I grabbed them both and am very impressed with them! Evita is a show that tells pretty much the life story of Eva and the subtle differences throughout (such as how her features appeared pail and sunken in towards the end) really helped sell the story to the audience. The sound was spot on throughout and the transition between the louder and quieter sections was smooth aside from the transitions that were intended to be dramatic.
Gian Marco Schiaretti played the narrator figure in the production, Che, perfectly and it's safe to say he was a hit with the audience! Another character that stood out was Peron's Mistress who sings Another Suitcase In Another Hall who was played by Sarah O'Conner. Her strong voice was beautiful and during the interval, I heard people around me talking about how impressed they were with her which I without a doubt agreed with!
One part of the show that stood out for me was the use of lighting during the full production. There were many occasions where the light was designed to mimic light shining through windows which really immersed you in the show. Also, when Eva was on the balcony, spotlights swept across the audience, giving the impression that the audience was the crowd Eva was speaking to.
All in all it was a different type of theatre show compared to what I've seen before (Wonderland, Wicked etc.) as it was much more serious. The cast were outstanding and the attention to detail with the costumes, lighting and set design were incredible. It was definitely worth the trip!
Thanks for reading! Sophie