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Evita - Stirling Theatre

Updated: May 7

Reviewed by Jordan D'Arcy

 

I don’t think I’ve seen as full or excited of a crowd at a community theatre show in a long time as I did at Stirling Theatre’s production of Evita. The show follows the short life of real-life former First Lady of Argentina Eva Perón, or Evita, who was universally loved in the country.


The simple staging of this production was really effective. In particular, the projections (created and operated by Joe Teakle) and the lighting (designed and operated by John Woolrych) were excellent. They created an entirely different atmosphere for every scene and were really well thought out. The projections were somehow incredibly subtle and used to excellent effect.


The production team made the decision to use performance tracks rather than a live band, which although gives the performers some stability in knowing the music will be the same every time, and mitigates trying to fit an entire band into the Stirling stage space, it was evident the cast could not hear the tracks over themselves during the first act the night I was there.


A particular stand out in this production was Danielle Battista in the titular role of Evita, or Eva Perón. The songs in this musical are not easy by any means, and bar the few mic difficulties which were not her fault, her performance was excellent. She had an amazing stage presence. Another stand out was Morgan Halket as the mistress, with a subdued, but emotional performance.


One of the things as a performer that I wish was noticed, but never is commented on when done well, is prop or costume emergencies that occur mid-scene. One such incident happened the night I was present when Danielle Battista’s slicked-back bun had a section of hair pulled out when she tore a hairpiece from her head. Ensemble member Gráinne Kennedy in her maid role swiftly attempted to flatten the flyaways until there was a moment she could appropriately fix it, and came back onto stage with a bobby pin – if you weren’t watching for it there is no way you would have caught it. It was a really clever fix.


Attention to detail in this production was excellent – the real Eva Perón dyed her hair from brunette to blonde early in her career, and Jane Sherwood’s wigs made that obvious change. In fact, the costumes, coordinated by Fran Gordon, were a real highlight of this production.


It’s definitely worth noting that some of the incredible actors in this production were on stage for the first time in Australia, or the first time at all! It is so heartwarming to know that new faces are appearing among those that we see in Perth community theatre already and that as a collective it

feels welcoming enough for new talent to wander in.


Russell Chandler (Juan Peron) and Danielle Battista (Eva Peron).

Reviewer Note: Jordan has previously performed at Stirling Theatre. Tickets for this review were provided by the theatre company.

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