Printable CopyEVITA
Gilbert & Sullivan Society of SA
The Arts Theatre
Until 02 Oct 2021

Review by Brendan Watts

When you think of the Gilbert and Sullivan Society of SA, you immediately think of quality, well-polished performances – and tonight’s performance of “Evita” did not fail to reach that lofty expectation. The vision of director Gordon Combes was evident from the moment of entering the theatre, where one was immediately taken into the essence of early 20th Century Argentina via a simple projection of film onto the stage. His design of the stage was simple but elegant, utilising the projection of multiple images on the rear of the stage to great visual effect.

This musical tracks the life and experiences of Eva Duarte as she rises from the streets to become Evita, beloved of the masses. We are lead on this journey by Che, who provides the narrative and a personal perspective on her choices and their subsequent impact on the titular character.

Musical director Jillian Gulliver and her 18-piece orchestra were located on the stage and this allowed them to provide a rich depth of sound that amply supported the vocal efforts of the cast.

Despite a few lapses in concentration from the male dance team, choreographer Sarah Williams would be proud of the cast’s movement. They utilised the stage cleverly, using simple but effective movements to maximum effect.

Ann Humphries and the costume team have produced a variety of costumes that provided each scene with a sense of genuineness and allowed the cast to assume their roles with ease.

The experience of the main cast was evident in their performances. Jared Frost (Che) utilised a diversity of volume, pitch, pace and tone to provide a performance that demanded the attention of the audience. Likewise Tegan Gully-Crispe (Eva/Evita) utilised her phenomenal vocal range to enunciate the at times quite challenging lyrics of Tim Rice. Their duets producing a strong depth of sound for the audience to appreciate.

Both James Nicholson (Magaldi) and James McCluskey-Garcia (Peron) were convincing in their portrayals, delivering strong performances. A special mention must be reserved for the performance of Grace Carter (Mistress). Although only a brief performance, her sweet, crisp voice and adept characterisation kept the audience enthralled.

Both the adult and kids’ ensembles provided strong performances in support of the main characters.

In conclusion, do yourself a favour and organise to go and see the quality show that is “Evita”.