Oh what a circus oh what a show! Vancouver has gone to town over the death of an actress called Eva Peron.
At least that’s how It felt like at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre tonight when the VO presented their latest pop opera Evita. Whether you’re a new fan or a veteran lover of this production you will find the Vancouver Opera’s take on Evita to be refreshing and innovative.
The iconic musical got some Vancouver flavour with the fresh voice of local singer Shannon Chan-Kent. Her rendition of Another Suitcase in Another Hall is truly one of the highlights of the show.
The star-studded cast include John Cudia as Peron, Ramin Karimloo as Che, and Caroline Bowman as Evita. All actors have Broadway credits attached to their names.
The role of Evita is a very difficult one to take on, as it requires not just strong vocals but a certain vulnerability that needs to be portrayed as Eva herself was a very complicated woman with a desperate desired to be loved, accepted and needed – sometimes at all costs. Caroline Bowman does such a good portrayal of an Evita that was ruthless at one moment and child-like the next – specially on the second act when we find Eva at her most vulnerable.
I found the chemistry between Caroline Bowman and John Cudia tantalizing. Their duet in I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You held just enough heat, and their voices harmonized beautifully together.
Ramin Karimloo’s Che really shines specially at And The Money Kept Rolling In (And Out). This character although serious at times, needs an actor that can have good comedic timing. Mr. Karimloo did not disappoint.
The production sets include vintage newspaper articles and photos of the real Eva Peron. Using digital projections, Set Designer Drew Facey creates seamless transitions from moment to moment with hardly any distractions. The only sore note was the sound… I completely understand how difficult managing microphones could be in such a large production (even the instruments were individually miked!) but the sound seemed a tad off, specially during the first act. Got much better during the second.
Catch Evita at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre April 30 to May 8. Get your tickets here. Tickets are selling out fast!