Youth Group Production

Lyrics by Tim Rice, Music by Andrew LLoyd Webber. By special arrangement with ’The Really Useful Group’.

Originally directed by Harold Prince

The Milton Rooms, Malton , April 8-11th, 2015

Oh  What A Show!

Our local talented Ryedale Youth Theatre’s annual show – “Evita” – was another winner from the West End.  With music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, this wonderful adaptation had every hallmark of a truly professional production and what a production – from the sad and solemn opening to the final heart rending scenes this cast gave their audience an unforgettable musical  insight into the story of Eva Duarte Peron.

The story was “narrated” in song by Che (a very mature performance by Dominic Weatherill), who linked the scenes and gave us a running commentary in song of Eva’s journey from (in her words) “the sticks” to becoming the First Lady of Argentina. He captured the essence of the young man who loved his country but felt that it was being ruined by successive poor governments.   Eva (an amazing performance by 16 year old Hannah Richardson) sang and danced her way into our hearts as we joined her on her fateful journey.  Early on in the show she told us that the people of Buenos Aires were going to get “a little bit of star quality” – this Evita has a lot more than a little bit of star quality, she truly must be a star of the future. Having reached Buenos Aires and discarded her ticket out of the sticks,  the nightclub singer Magaldi (Ollie Fearn looking every inch the ‘gentleman’)) along the way, Eva – now a radio actress – meets Colonel Peron (Adam Peel, bringing just the right level of military gravitas to his role) and her future takes a major upward turn. Eva’s first action as Peron’s latest flame is to get rid of his Mistress (Beth Armstrong), whose pain at her rejection we shared as she sang ‘Another Suitcase in Another Hall’.

The actress and the colonel marry, and Eva’s political ambitions gain momentum, to the chagin of both the Buenos Aires upper class and some of Peron’s soldiers; but unfortunately her health lets her down and she collapses – the heartrending cry of help from her anguished husband  as he found her unconscious on the floor was heart breaking. The end is then inevitable and as the mourners light the stage with candles Eva dies.

There were so many moments of sheer theatrical and musical brilliance in this show: the costumes – Evita had 15 different costumes under the care of Wardrobe Mistress Yvonne Young; the dancing, with inventive choreography by the show’s Director Angela Kirkham and also by Ali Kirkham.  The music, a six piece band under the Musical Director Chris Hocking, and the Musical Choral Director Martin Dixon, combined to make “Evita” a stunning success.  Songs melted into dance and as dancers left the stage vocal solos and duets seamlessly followed – flawless transitions.  Mention must be made also of the set (built by Piddy Young) which cleverly contained all the action throughout the show.  The ensemble cast, ranging in age from 8 to 18 have once again treated us to a superb evening of entertainment and indeed the “star quality” was pouring from the stage throughout the show, coming from the whole cast. They all thoroughly deserved the standing ovation they received.

The incredibly talented and dedicated members of Ryedale Youth Theatre and the production team have given us a superb evening of entertainment any West End theatre audience would enjoy – but they’re ours and we’re so very lucky to have them here in Malton.  Thank you everyone for an absolutely amazing show, I just wish I could see it again, I enjoyed it so much.   I’m already looking forward to next year!

Ann-Marie Gatford