Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two (aghrivaine) wrote,
Rum, Sodomy, and the Lash: Pick Two

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Go ahead and cry for her, Argentina

Last night I went to see Evita, the Andrew Lloyd Weber production, as put on by Main Stage Productions at Santa Monica College.

Much is made of the presence of "Che" who is obviously inspired by Che Guevera, the narrator of the story. And of course, the titular star of the musical is a key role - and in other productions, I am sure they were important. In this case however, both very competent and workmanlike performances were utterly eclipsed by the star power and gravitas of Juan Peron. Although unorthodox, it's not entirely strange - after all, Peron is the fulcrum on which the rest of the production is turned. It was his stone in the pond that set the other ripples in motion - and here, we see an actor who has the charisma, and the commanding presence to make clear just who this story is really about.

The sets and costumes were fairly doctrinaire - though a balcony that glides back and forth as Evita takes to it was novel. The choreography was excellent - there was nary a moment when there weren't a half dozen actors on stage dancing up a storm. This is a musically challenging production - there are often two singers doing counterpoint to each other, or even flat-out singing over each other - not to mention the excessive range required. All performed their jobs without error - though again, Juan Peron stole the show with a high clear voice that could descend into stentorian depth with astonishing rapidity and agility. That he was, reportedly, suffering through laryngitis during the production is simply flabbergasting - one wonders what would have happened had he been in full health. Perhaps it's for the best, or they'd simpy have had to retitle the play "Juan" - which, let's face it, doesn't have quite the same appeal. Evita herself was magnificent within her range, which complemented most of the numbers that are key for her very well. Some of the more fortissimo moments were screechy, but then - that may have been a dramatic decision rather than a limitation of the performer.

There are to performances left, a matinee today and then another tonight - so if you're in the area and need something to do, I recommend going to see Juan Evita. Go ahead and cry for her, she got utterly upstaged.

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