When my other half told me he had tickets for EVITA at the Grand Opera House as our #datenight night out, I scuttled off to Wikipedia to find out what year ‘Argentina’ (the hit song from this show) was in the charts, as I remembered singing it loudly while it played on the radio back when I was a kid. Turns out the year was 1976. 1976?!! I was 3! Although I’m pretty certain the song was given substantial radio play regularly over the next 10 years and even fondly recalled a Kenny Everett sketch about Arge and Tina set to the music of the song too, so I must’ve been a lot older by then as Kenny was quite ‘adult’ in his humour for an under 10. Of course, at the time I had no idea what the song related to, and after checking out the song history, I also really relished reading up on the history of Eva & Juan Peron’s heyday and rule in post WW2 Argentina.
The history as told by Wikipedia matches well to the chronology of the musical, written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber. And the real-life drama is played out well in this fantastic Bill Kenwright production which came to Belfast after a smash-hit run at London’s Dominion Theatre.
Telling the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron, Evita follows Eva’s journey from humble beginnings through to extraordinary wealth, power and iconic status which ultimately lead her to be heralded as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’ by the Argentine people.