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Review: Newark Amateur Operatic Society’s Evita at Newark Palace Theatre





A glamorous, ruthless and tragic story is brought to life by Newark Amateur Operatic Society in their latest production, Evita.

It is filled with powerful musical numbers from the Tony-award winning Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber musical, delivered pitch-perfectly by the cast and ensemble.

Evita tells the tale of Argentine icon Eva Perón, from her poverty-stricken upbringing and pursuit of acting fame in Buenos Aires to her role as first lady and untimely death aged 33.

Kate Taylor as Eva Peron and Andrew Beighton as Juan Peron in Evita. Photos: Teresa Martin
Kate Taylor as Eva Peron and Andrew Beighton as Juan Peron in Evita. Photos: Teresa Martin

In the title role is talented Kate Taylor, in her second show with the society, who has a powerhouse voice which carries her throughout a multitude of solos, including I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You and You Must Love Me, and switches effortlessly between sweet, seductive and politically ruthless.

She shines — quite literally — in an array of sequined and feathered frocks as she enchants the stage much as real-life Eva did Argentina, and after developing such a relationship with the audience Eva’s death at the end of the show is all the more heart-wrenching.

This is in part achieved through the famed Don't Cry for Me Argentina with a heartfelt rendition from the balcony of Casa Rosada.

Kate Taylor as Eva Peron, and the ensemble. Credit: Teresa Martin
Kate Taylor as Eva Peron, and the ensemble. Credit: Teresa Martin
The ensemble on stage. Credit: Teresa Martin
The ensemble on stage. Credit: Teresa Martin

The song is powerful and catchy, leaving you to hum it as you leave the theatre, and is a real show of Kate Taylor's vocal skills.

Leading audiences through the story as he slips through the scenes seamlessly and delivers witty musical numbers including Oh What A Circus, is William Dewick as Ché.

William Dewick as Che. Credit: Teresa Martin
William Dewick as Che. Credit: Teresa Martin
The cast of Evita. Credit: Teresa Martin
The cast of Evita. Credit: Teresa Martin

He acts as both narrator and conscience, challenging Eva’s politics and her untamed ambition.

William is thoroughly entertaining throughout and never falters despite spending almost the entire run on the stage.

Argentine president Juan Perón is brought to the stage by Andrew Beighton, who is entirely believable as a doting yet frustrated husband and is visibly torn apart by the death of his wife Eva, while Justin Day stars as another of Eva’s lovers, Augustin Magaldi, with who she runs away to Bueno Aires, told in a beautiful rendition of On This Night Of A Thousand Stars and Buenos Aires.

Justin Day as Augustin Magaldi. Credit: Teresa Martin
Justin Day as Augustin Magaldi. Credit: Teresa Martin
Emma Wighton as Peron's Mistress. Credit: Teresa Martin
Emma Wighton as Peron's Mistress. Credit: Teresa Martin

The named cast is completed by Emma Wighton as Perón’s mistress, who really owns the stage as she takes on Another Suitcase In Another Hall, her heartbreak clear to see.

While the lead characters deliver truly astounding and seemingly professional performances, it is the ensemble of over 20 performers who really bring the whole show together with spectacular song and dance numbers.

The cast of Evita. Credit: Teresa Martin
The cast of Evita. Credit: Teresa Martin
The cast of Evita. Credit: Teresa Martin
The cast of Evita. Credit: Teresa Martin

There’s leaps, spins and perfectly choreographed formations as Eva journeys the streets of Buenos Aires, hands out money to charity and takes on a European tour — and a scene that particularly stands out is the mammoth A New Argentina complete with placards, marching and an atmosphere which spills off the stage and makes the whole theatre feel like the streets of Argentina on the cusp of political reform.

It is all accompanied by wonderful live music from the orchestra, beautiful costumes and set, and is sure to keep audiences hooked from beginning to end.

The show is full of spectacular song and dance numbers.
The show is full of spectacular song and dance numbers.

Evita runs at Newark Palace Theatre until Saturday.

Tickets are available from the Palace Theatre at www.palacenewark.com or by calling 01636 655755.

The show is directed by the society’s chairman Mike Follen, his third in a row, and choreographed by Natasha Wade.



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