Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Glenn Carter. Sort by date Show all posts
Showing posts sorted by relevance for query Glenn Carter. Sort by date Show all posts

Tuesday, 17 July 2018

Evita (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


Evita (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Tuesday 17th July 2018 by Olivia Mitchell 
★★★★

Classic musical, Evita has been thrilling audiences in the UK and around the world since it opened in 1978, winning the Olivier Award for Best Musical. Multiple re-incarnations have allowed various portrayals of the iconic characters and different takes on the tale of Eva Perón. Despite not having a huge amount to compare to, having only seen the 1996 movie and 2006 West End production, I don't hesitate saying that this current tour helmed by Lucy O'Byrne, Glenn Carter and Mike Sterling has created an almost perfect production and showcases the music and story of Evita wonderfully.

Not only was tonight Evita's opening night at the New Victoria Theatre but was also the opening night for the three leads who each do an outstanding job. Mike Sterling commands the role of Juan Perón with power and fight whilst also showing off a softer side with his wife. He is vocally wonderful and complements Lucy's voice well. As Che (in some productions based on Che Guevara, and others as working class Everyman base of Peronism) Glenn Carter is versatile. A strong voice and all-knowing-rock-god-vibe means he brings a unique but perfectly suitable strength to the role.

As the leading lady, Lucy O'Byrne grows and blazes as Eva Perón. Starting out as a 16 year old who knows what she wants to a dying politicians wife, O'Byrne's transition is breathtaking to watch. Stand out moments include Rainbow High and You Must Love Me which show the drastic differences between Eva's character. Lucy performs the role with passion and drive whilst maintaining brief innocent moments. Her vocals grow as the character does and her stellar diction means we don't miss a word of the fast-paced passages.


Bill Dreamer's choreography brings to life the world of Argentina and cleverly moves us from one moment of action to another, whilst, Matthew Wright's sets and costumes create a vibrant world which draws you in from the opening. The fairly simplistic sets echo the world of the Perón's and at times provide a stark contrast to the glamour of Eva. 

It's hard to pick fault with such a strong production but one thing in particular strikes me as odd: the decision to give the entire cast English accents. This doesn't take away from the performances at all but feels like a bit of a cop out, and makes us forget the show is set in Argentina at times. 

However, overall this production is well thought out and does a brilliant job of bringing Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's music and lyrics to life once more. This show is not glitz and glam happiness, but it is a raw and moving story which should certainly be seen. Stellar music is brought to life by a magnificent cast who make Evita a must see!

Evita runs at the New Victoria Theatre until July 21st before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Keith pattison

Friday, 3 August 2018

Evita (UK Tour), Grand Opera House, Belfast | Review


Evita (UK Tour)
Grand Opera House, Belfast 
Reviewed on Wednesday 1st August 2018 by Damien Murray 
★★★★

When the idea of a musical based on the life of Eva Peron was first suggested back in the 1970s, many people were dubious about its chances of success… fast forward to today and it has become a modern classic with major theatres like Belfast’s Grand Opera House playing host to an extended run of Bill Kenwright’s 40th Anniversary Touring production of the show. 

As last week marked the 66th anniversary of her untimely death from cancer at the age of 33, the show has not only been a success, but has already outlived the real Evita by quite a few years. 

A sung-through musical story of her short life, the show takes us from her humble beginnings through to a life of wealth and power, dubbed as the ‘spiritual chief of the nation’ by the Argentine people. 

From its dramatic opening with Eva’s funeral juxtaposed with Che’s angry and cynically mocking song, Oh What A Circus, and going full circle through her eventful life back to her lying in state, this must be one of Bill Kenwright’s best ever productions. 


Jointly directed by Kenwright and Bob Tomson, this excellent touring revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice’s relatively early musical about the former Argentine dictator’s wife – which, like Jesus Christ Superstar, originated as a concept album – may be slightly scaled down from the original… but, you would never realise it. 

For this was a classy staging boasting basic, practical, but opulent, settings in a well-dressed and extremely well-lit production, which also included some child performers for added realism. 

Strong tango rhythms encouraged fiery and passionate performances, especially in choreographed ensemble pieces like Buenos Aires as the hard-working ensemble brought the ideas of Choreographer, Bill Deamer – ranging from passion-filled tango to militaristic movement – to life. 

Thanks to Musical Director, Tim Whiting, and his 10-piece orchestra, Webber’s sung-through format threw up many memorable musical highlights, including: great vocal clarity from young Cristina Hoey as the teenage Mistress in Another Suitcase In Another Hall; and from Oscar Balmaseda as the nightclub tango singer, Magaldi, during On This Night Of A Thousand Stars, while the rousing chorus of A New Argentina also stood out, as did the young girl’s beautiful singing of Santa Evita; Che’s expressive interpretation of High Flying Adored and the ailing Eva’s heartfelt and moving rendition of You Must Love Me. 


Mike Sterling provided a commanding Peron, while Glenn Carter really impressed in the demanding role of the ever-present Che, the self-styled narrator of the story. 

Carter’s diction, clarity and, at times, almost patter-style of delivery were vital to this show, as – being sung-through – those new to the story or with any hearing difficulty needed such clarity to put everything in context, especially during songs like Oh What A Circus and High Flying Adored. 

In addition to her beautiful singing voice (particularly in the show-stopper, Don’t Cry For Me Argentina), The Voice finalist and musical theatre songstress, Lucy O’Byrne, turned in a very confident performance as the ambitious backstreet actress whose ascendancy was unstoppable, because she was so loved and adored by so many that she almost rose to the dizzy heights of sainthood. 

My only small criticism was that, as Eva Peron was enigmatic, manipulative and charismatic; I would have liked to have seen a little more charisma throughout, as it did take a little longer than usual to warm to the character of Eva. 


This may have been because O’Byrne was more operatic in style than some others I have come across in this role, although her display of humanity during You Must Love Me at a time of critical physical weakness was heart-breaking and probably the best and most moving ever, as was the touching death scene. 

All dressed and decorated in a rich tapestry of sumptuous sets, authentic costumes and wigs, and attractive, mood-inspiring lighting, this production was a visual treat with some beautiful theatrical pictures at the end of most songs. 

Forty years after its West-End premiere, this fast-moving production is a high standard revival of a passionate and powerful piece of musical theatre. 

Evita runs at the Grand Opera House, Belfast until 11th August before continuing it's tour.

photo credit: Keith Pattison

Wednesday, 4 April 2018

The Case of the Frightened Lady (UK Tour), New Victoria Theatre | Review


The Case of the Frightened Lady (UK Tour)
New Victoria Theatre 
Reviewed on Friday 20th October 2017 by Melanie Mitchell 
★★★

The Case of the Frightened Lady is the second production by Bill Kenwright's Classic Thriller production company. Originally written by Edgar Wallace the play is a new adaptation by Anthony Lampard. It is directed by Roy Marsden whom you may know as televisions Inspector Dalgliesh.

This classic whodunnit is set in 1932, the story takes place in the Baronial hall of Marks Priory, the ancestral home of the Lebanon family. Beautifully created by set designer Julie Godfrey. The opening scene begins with a fancy-dress party, where we are gradually introduced to the characters. It is at the party a horrifying murder takes place, putting everyone under suspicion.

When Detective Inspector Tanner, played by Gray O’Brien, probably best known as Tony Gordon in Coronation Street, is bought in to investigate the crime he soon realises that things are not what they seem.  Along with his assistant Detective Sargeant Totti, Charlie Clements, of Eastenders fame, they begin to uncover a closely guarded secret.


Rula Lenska is well cast as Lady Lebanon, a mother obsessed with marrying her son Lord Lebanon, played by Ben Nealon to his cousin Isla Crane. This is to be a marriage of convenience, not wanted by either party but purely to fulfil Lady Lebanon’s wish for a son and heir to carry on the Lebanon title. Miss Lenska plays the part with an aristocratic haughtiness, whilst April Pearson is very believable as her terrified niece and secretary Isla.

Adding to the suspicious goings on are Denis Lill as the horribly lecherous family physician Dr Amersham with Glenn Carter and Callum Coates as Gilder and Brook, 2 rather sinister footman. 

I felt that the first act was rather slow and although we were introduced to the various characters, apart from the murder not very much happened. I certainly wasn’t on the edge of my seat.


However, the second half picked up pace as the story unravelled and secrets were revealed. The plot was full of red herrings, with almost everyone a suspect. I for one didn’t solve the case until very near the end, which added to the enjoyment. 

Don’t expect to be scared witless by this production although there were several very unexpected claps of thunder and gunshots, with sound by Dan Samson, that alongside some clever lighting effects, by Chris Davey, certainly made me and many other audience members jump out of their seats.

If you like a good old fashioned whodunnit then this is definitely a show for you. 

The Case of the Frightened Lady runs until Saturday 7th April 2018 at the New Victoria Woking.