Weymouth Pavilion

A MUSICAL that starts with a funeral and ends with a death does not sound very much like a fun night out but Evita is unique, standing head and shoulders above many other shows with its powerful story line and strong visual impact.

Telling the true story of Eva Duarte, a destitute teenager who drags herself from the gutter to become the wife of President Juan Peron and the adored goddess of the working class of Argentina, the plot takes the audience on an unforgettable emotionally charged journey.

Weymouth Operatic Society have succeeded in producing a winner in their latest offering with its large cast, stimulating stage images, video newsreel footage and musical expertise of professional class.

With the dialogue sung throughout in operatic style libretto, the Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical is a challenge for any performer and Weymouth is fortunate indeed to have amazingly talented stars taking the leading roles.

Top of the list is Samantha Young as Eva Peron, a singer with an astonishing range and purity of tone that puts her in a class of her own.

Onstage for virtually the whole show, Samantha is quite simply fantastic both as a vocalist and as an actress, a noteworthy and totally convincing performance.

In the role of Che, observer and commentator on the political events that take place in 1940s Argentina, a perceptive Ralph Ricardo is suitably cynical and has a pretty good singing voice as well while Tom Howden gives the role of Peron a dignity and stature that it deserves.

Paul Velya is in his usual fine form as Eva’s first love Magaldi, in a show that includes a number of gorgeous children as well as a large chorus of singers and dancers.

Under the direction of Martine Burt, both the staging and the choreography are slick and satisfying while Sam Ryall conducts an orchestral score that gives drummer Barney Stevens plenty of opportunity to display his expertise on the skins.

The show continues for the rest of the week including a matinee and evening performance on Saturday.