Sunday, 13 July 2014

Oh what a circus! Oh what a show! ;-)

I've always loved musical theatre and I became quite excited

 when I heard that 'Evita' was coming to Torquay.

I was very lucky to have experienced this wonderful show,

when the original cast performed it in London in 1978.

And I was even luckier to have seen David Essex

in the role of the narrator, Che!

Talking of Che...

There is much debate as to why Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber

adopted Che as the narrator and, in fact, it is said that Che was

initially meant to be any Che, rather than the revolutionary leader, Che Guevara.

However, it seems that over the years, the Che in Evita, 

has been considered to be Che Guevara.

It is, however, probably true that Eva and Che Guevara never 

met one another.

What we do know is, that here are two people, each with differing philosophies

yet each like saints, to their followers.

And each became cultural icons.

In Evita, Che is the narrator; an important dramatic device which

binds the play together and at the same time, poses important questions in the

minds of the audience. 

The show, Evita, begins with a scene inside a cinema and the announcement

of the death of Che sings the words :

'Oh what a circus! Oh what a show!
Argentina has gone to town
Over the death of an actress called Eva Peron
We've all gone crazy
Mourning all day and mourning all night
Falling over ourselves to get all
Of the misery right

Oh what an exit! That's how to go!
When they're ringing your curtain down
Demand to be buried like Eva Peron
It's quite a sunset
And good for the country in a roundabout way
We've made the front page of all the world's papers today

But who is this Santa Evita?
Why all this howling hysterical sorrow?
What kind of goddess has lived among us?
How will we ever get by without her?

She had her moments--she had some style
The best show in town was the crowd
Outside the Casa Rosada crying, "Eva Peron"
But that's all gone now
As soon as the smoke from the funeral clears
We're all going to see and how she did nothing for years!'

You let down your people Evita
You were supposed to have been immortal
That's all they wanted
Not much to ask for
But in the end you could not deliver

Sing you fools! But you got it wrong
Enjoy your prayers because you haven't got long
Your queen is dead, your king is through
She's not coming back to you

Show business kept us all alive
Since 17 October 1945
But the star has gone, the glamour's worn thin
That's a pretty bad state for a state to be in

Instead of government we had a stage
Instead of ideas a prima donna's rage
Instead of help we were given a crowd
She didn't say much but she said it loud

Sing you fools? But you got it wrong
Enjoy your prayers because you haven't got long
Your queen is dead, your king is through
She's not coming back to you


So... who was Evita?

Well...Evita was the very charismatic Eva Duarte, an actress who wanted to

escape from her usual, mundane lifestyle and go to Buenos Aires,in order to

better herself.


'I had to let it happen, I had to change
Couldn't stay all my life down at heel
Looking out of the window, staying out of the sun
So I chose freedom
Running around trying everything new
But nothing impressed me at all
I never expected it to'


She eventually meets  the politician Juan Peron and she becomes his mistress

and then his wife. 


'It seems crazy but you must believe
There's nothing calculated, nothing planned
Please forgive me if I seem naive
I would never want to force your hand
But please understand
I'd be good for you.'


She is, indeed, 'the woman behind the man' and she encourages him to

attain supreme power.

In 1946 , Juan Peron becomes President of Argentina.

Described by a 'propaganda machine' by many, Eva becomes 

the heroine of the people of Argentina.


'But on the other hand--she's all they have
She's a diamond in their dull gray lives--and that's the
Hardest kind of stone--it usually survives
And when you think about it, can you recall
The last time they loved anyone at all?'


She has a huge amount of ambition and eventually she embarks

 on a world tour, which turns out to be less successful than she had hoped,

apart from in Spain.

At this point , just as she creates the Eva Peron Foundation, 

( set up to help the poor people of Argentina), we discover that

she is not well.

Eva passes away at the age of 33 years.

At the end of the show, we are left questioning her motives....and the narrator,

 Che, is partly responsible for this!

Without him, we would probably be more inclined to think that

Eva was a saint and very much ' for the people.'

With him, we consider and question her actions and thus we come away with

conflicting thoughts.


And of course, when it comes to the subject of Argentina,

 one can't help but bring other things into the mix...

thoughts such as The Falklands Conflict; thoughts such as

Diego Maradona and that 'hand of god' incident !!

One cannot get away from such thoughts. 

Should you get the chance to go and see this wonderful adaptation

of Evita, then do grab it!

The whole cast, the set, props, orchestra etc were top class.

Marti Pellow played the part of Che incredibly well...a part which, as

the narrator, must be pretty tricky. 

He was not intrusive... and that's how it has to be.

He slipped in and out of the action very well indeed.

Madalena Alberto (Evita) ...well what can I say about her?!

I don't think I have ever seen someone with such stage presence; she put her all

into her performance and played the part perfectly.

Her voice was simply amazing.

And on that note , I think I'll leave the last words to her alter ago:

High flying, adored, that's good to hear, but unimportant

My story's quite usual, local girl makes good,
weds famous man
I was slap in the right place at the perfect time
Filled a gap--I was lucky
But one thing I'll say for me
No-one else can fill it like I can


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