One of best for ages

Evita at The Palace Theatre, Manchester

LETíS start with a complaint... this show isnít on for long enough.

Its slot in an exhaustive UK tour means that it is only on here for four days ó it finishes tomorrow night.

And that means countless theatregoers will be deprived of a chance to see one of the best musicals to hit the city in a long time.

The warmth of the standing ovation it received was testimony to that.

So letís roll out the superlatives for this so-entertaining Bill Kenwright production.

This incredible story of Eva Peron bewitched Argentina in the 1940s . . . as it did the audience here in the year of the 65th anniversary of her death.

OK, Madalena Alberto may not be an Elaine Paige, who made the role of Evita her own on stage, or Madonna, who immortalised her on screen.

But she WAS terrific.

Her voice showed a delightful range, she had the charisma which this cherished role demanded ó and in a sad scene when Evita was near death, a real tear rolled down her cheek.

In short, she was just perfect as the smalltown, working-class actress who rose to become the wife of the Argentina president.

Talking of whom, plaudits too for Jeremy Secomb as dictator Juan Peron.

And for Italian-born Gian Marco Schiaretti as narrator Che, the voice of the Argentine people.

The songs ó like Donít Cry For Me Argentina and Oh What a Circus ó are, of course, unforgettable.

Just like the show.


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