Theatre Mirror Reviews - "Evita"

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide


"What Happened in Boston, Willie"

entire contents copyright 2004 by Tony Annicone


Reviewed by Tony Annicone

The Little Theatre of Fall River's current show is Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's, "Evita" which is about Eva Peron, bit actress, mistress and wife to Argentine dictator Juan Peron. The show is a collage of Eva's rise to power and her early death. It is a look at a woman loved by the poor, hated by the rich and powerful and who was not above taking matters into her capable hands, whether it be charity funds, colonels on the rise to political power or, finally, political power itself. Director/choreographer Eric Gomes and his musical director, Christopher Saulnier pick the 31 best cast members for this show, (including 8 talented children) leading the audience to give them a standing ovation for a job very well done.

Eric's blocking and choreography of this enormous cast is outstanding as is the musical direction by Christopher. Some of the many dances include some tangos, the aristocrats group movements and the soldiers marching dance steps, all executed wonderfully. The vocalists and the orchestra sound super in this show. Topnotch production values also include set and costumes by Eric with Fran Petisca helping him with the multitude of costumes. Bravo on a splendid show.

Heading this huge cast is Taryn Mallard-Reid who is a sensational, Evita. This girl can sing, act and dance circles around anyone I've seen. Taryn creates a memorable character and shows the transition from her younger days as a poor girl to her dying scene at the close of the show. Her rendition of "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" is mesmerizing and breathtaking, leading to a thunderous ovation. Her other numbers are just as dynamic from the bouncy "Buenos Aires" (with excellent dancing by the chorus) to the seductive "I'd Be Surprisingly Good For You" duet with Peron to the exurberant "Rainbow High" to the final poignant lament as she is dying. Taryn will definitely make you forget Madonna as Eva in the movie version. Che is played by Joey Raposa. The character is the narrator and moves in and out of scenes commenting on Eva's behavior. Joey's strong tenor voice sells his many numbers including the gorgeous, "High Flying Adored" to the raucous "Oh what a Circus" and "And the Money Kept Rolling In" with the chorus. He and Taryn have a funny number with her many lovers called "Goodnight and Thank You" which has a revolving door onstage where they keep appearing. (One of the funniest verses is about the lover with his pants down and his shirt half off as he enters through the door. (Amazing how he didn't trip over the trousers) David DaCosta gives one of the best portrayals I have ever seen of the underwritten role of Juan Peron. His voice sounds suberb in his duets with Taryn and especially in"Rainbow Tour", "Art of the Possible" (the musical chair group number) and "She is a Diamond". David is an actor who excels in every role I've seen him in and this one is no exception. These three leads are fabulous in their parts.

James Fernandes shows off his fantastic, strong tenor voice as Magaldi, Evita's first lover who she uses to get into show business. His top notes in "On This Night of a 1000 Stars" soar off the scale and he delivers the goods in this role. Playing the mistress is Diana Faria who gets to show off her gorgeous soprano voice in the beautiful and moving ballad, "Another Suitcase in Another Hall" when Eva and Peron throw her out of his room. Both James and Diana make the most of their stage time and make you remember them with their stellar performances. The chorus is just as good as the leads with their tremendous vocal talent in their many numbers including the spine tingling "A New Argentina" which closes the first act, "The Rainbow Tour" , "Santa Evita" and the rousing money song. (The 8 children sing "Please, Gentle Eva", giving it a very sweet and lovely sound) So for an outstanding Broadway like show, be sure to catch this version of "Evita". You won't be disappointed. Tell them Tony sent you.

"Evita" (13 - 16 May)
Bristol Community College, 777 Ellsbree Street, FALL RIVER MA
1 (508) 675-1852

THE THEATER MIRROR, New England's LIVE Theater Guide