It opened at the close, with the sombre announcement that Eva Perón, dynamic and beloved first lady of Argentina, had died – and then sprang to vibrant life, charting the rise of this charismatic woman, from rural poverty to the height of her powers as the wife of president Juan Perón.
In the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, Christ’s College and Rangi Ruru Girls’ School managed to do it again, taking this masterpiece of musical theatre by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice and creating a compelling production. As Director of Drama David Chambers says, “Ché’s first words –‘What a circus, what a show’ – pretty much sums it up. “The extraordinary experience of producing Evita during a global pandemic – the on again, off again, in lockdown, out of lockdown nature of the rehearsals, the date changes, whether it could even go ahead, managing bookings, where and how to accommodate the audience, securing alternative venues and meeting expectations … everything combined to make a roller coaster of a production. We had to be flexible, innovative, resilient and determined.”
To meet Covid alert level restrictions, the production team gained permission from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Really Useful Group in London to live stream Evita to satellite venues in the Old Boys’ Theatre, at Rangi Ruru Girls’ School, and at The Piano. “This was unprecedented in Christchurch, but it meant hundreds of our booked patrons could enjoy the large scale spectacle from the wide and mid-shot cameras and the intimacy of close up detail as the cast’s interactions were broadcast live on screen.”
cast-off lovers Lily Barrowcliffe as the Mistress and Ollie Jones as Magaldi, as well as a large cast of talented actors, singers and dancers who worked with a true ensemble spirit. And Perón understudy Henry Briscoe, got to play his role twice, subbing for an injured Fletcher Anderson. Behind the scenes, the show was equally sharp. Under the direction of Rangi Ruru’s Janet Kingsbury, the orchestra didn’t “ For somany different reasons, it will go down in history as one of our more memorable shows. ” David Chambers
The effort was worth it.
Leads Georgina Scott as Evita, Dominic Edmond as Ché and Fletcher Anderson as Perón had extraordinary presence, owning the stage. Ché swaggered, driving the story; Evita was seductive and magnetic; Perón exuded power. The trio was ably supported by
Christ’s College Canterbury
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