What a fabulous evening! The Oxford Operatic Society’s (OXOPS) production of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita hit every high note at a packed Oxford Playhouse last night.
Apart from the great score and lyrics, the OXOPS production of the West End classic produced some terrific staging and an utterly professionally performance. Surely OXOPS isn’t an amateur company?
the stand-out performance of the evening was Benjamin Ashton’s, whose magnetic stage-presence as Che, and dramatic singing range, was worth the ticket price alone
The story – the early years, and rise and death of Argentina’s Eva Peron, in 1952 – was first seen on stage in 1978, and the award winning film starring Madonna followed in 1997. It has rarely been out of sight since.
It introduces Eva (Evita) played by Ligia Padron Acevedo, the self-created heroine of an Argentinian dictatorship, who was both adored and reviled, and this complexity is masterfully explored by OXOPS, lead by the narrator Che (a nod to the revolutionary Argentinian Che Guevara) played so ably by Benjamin Ashton. read our interview with him here
There was some wonderful tango-style dancing, thanks to choreographer Rachel Garnet, handling a very large chorus on a not-very-large stage. The orchestra was outstanding; sharp and rhythmic, keeping the complex action moving while supporting the demanding score admirably.
The singing was uniformly first-rate; clear, dramatic, stylish and heartwarming, lead by Ligia Padron Acevedo (Evita), Dave Crewe (Peron), Guy Grimsley (Augustine Magaldi) and Anna Hughes (Peron’s mistress).
However, the stand-out performance of the evening was Benjamin Ashton‘s, whose magnetic stage-presence as Che, and dramatic singing range, was worth the ticket price alone.
Most tickets have now sold out so get on the waiting list quick. Alternatively keep an eye out for OXOPS’s next production, and book early! https://www.oxfordplayhouse.com/events/evita#dates-and-times