Review: Evita, Swansea Grand Theatre
Rising to their feet, a packed Grand Theatre united in a standing ovation as the tale of an Argentinian dictator and his rags-to-riches wife came full circle following two hours of dazzling musical entertainment.
Bill Kenwright's revival of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's historical musical had rolled into town amid a flurry of expectation, and it didn't disappoint with a stellar cast, sumptuous live orchestra and a lavish stage set that brought the sights and sounds Buenos Aries to vivid life on the Swansea stage.
Narrating the tale was the tireless and ever-present crowd-favourite Marti Pellow of Wet Wet Wet fame, whose tough guy image and salt-and-pepper beard were the perfect accompaniments as he belted out the storytelling tunes of the revolutionary Che.
But it was Portuguese singer Madalena Alberto who, alongside the superb Mark Heenehan as her husband Peron, quite rightly took centre stage with a dominant performance that saw her rise from aspiring starlet to the most powerful woman in the Argentina.
While local girl Sarah McNicholas, as Peron's mistress, had her moment in the spotlight with the perennial favourite Another Suitcase in Another Hall.
Rounded off with some sublime live music from musical director and conductor Matthew Loughran in the orchestra pit, this was a polished, professional performance that more than lived up to the hype.