Browsing articles tagged with "Andrew Lloyd Webber Archives - I Love Saturday"
Feb 11, 2014

Evita – Powerful Romance

It was off to the Bord Gais Energy Theatre, a hop, skip & a jump from ILS HQ, last night for Evita. Andrew Lloyd Webber & Tim Rice’s all-singing, all-dancing tale of Argentina’s legendary “spirit of the nation”, Eva Peron. First stop for us, me & Dad, was Herbstreet on Hanover Quay. Where else? Always a full house during sell out shows, we enjoyed a warm welcome & a bustling atmosphere. The perfect place for pre-theatre chow.

The menu at Herbstreet changes with the seasons, but one thing that remains the same is their scrummy sweet potato wedges. Big chunks of foodie love served with chipotle & lemon feta dips. So we shared those, alongside baked Cooleeney with sourdough bread & quinoa salad for me & a special of grilled halloumi with fruity cous cous & apricot chutney for Dad. All totes delish, needless to say!

Dessert followed at the Upper Circle bar, where we paired our drinkies with a box of Cocoa Atelier chocolates. Ambassador… Well, it is my birthday! The view of Grand Canal Docks from here, is one of the best features of the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. A magical slice of modern Dublin. Yes, Sir. We soon took our seats, for the performance. The Gods. I must say, I do like watching from the Upper Circle.

Is it wrong to fancy Marti Pellow? Starring as narrator Che (channelling Che Guevara, but not quite him), Pellow looks swashbuckling swarthy in his combats and bovver boots. Of course, I remember him from his Wet Wet Wet days, when as a ten year old I was a little bit in love with him. Pellow is now an accomplished Wet End player, as well as a successful solo artist. And still quite handsome too…

A deep throat opener from Che, brings us to Evita’s state funeral where her passing is mourned by the nation. Then we go back in time to 1940s Argentina, where small town girl Eva Peron lets her larger than life personality do the talking, or singing in this case. In search of the big time, she persuades tango singer Agustin Magaldi to take her to Buenos Aires. Eva is ready for her first bite of the Big Apple.

With bright lights in her eyes Eva climbs the society ladder, forging a career as an actress & model. Following a devastating earthquake, Eva meets Juan Peron at a charity ball. Together they rise to power, during a time of political turmoil, to become President & First Lady of Argentina. Under Peron’s wing, Evita transcends her humble beginnings to national sweetheart. Theirs is a tale of enduring love.

Evita sweeps us up in a heady cocktail of romance & power as Eva, played superbly by Madelena Alberto, & Juan Peron, played by stage veteran Mark Heenehan, fuse together to make an unforgettable alliance. From the start of their affair, “I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You” to the height of their reign, “Don’t Cry For Me Argentina” the stage is a hotbed of emotion. Pure Rice & Lloyd Webber magic.

Alberto’s mighty voice takes us through the highs & lows of Evita’s political opus & into the bosom of her marriage. The love between her & Peron is reflected onto the raging streets of Argentina. This production highlights Evita’s magnificent wealth against a backdrop of Argentina’s desperate “shirtless”, represented by Che throughout. Her heart must outshine her diamonds, as far as they are concerned.

A captivating “High Flying Adored” between Eva & Che, leads us into her infamous Rainbow Tour of Europe. Evita puts on the performance of her life, while at the same time fighting a losing battle with her failing health. She rallies behind Peron, but he must watch his beloved burgeon in spirit & wither in strength. She clings to him, all she has left. “You Must Love Me” brought a tear to my eye.

Evita really captures the heat of Buenos Aires at the time, with the Perons cast against a lively ensemble of good time girls, military men & ordinary folk. I enjoyed the costumes in particular, from flirty tea dresses to dapper uniform, they conveyed times past when both men & women held their own brands of allure. Evita’s glamour to Peron’s steady presence. A winning combo in any day & age.

The final scenes see out the tragedy of Evita’s untimely death with Peron pledging “She Is A Diamond” to her & “Eva’s Final Broadcast” as her heart wrenching last stand. We’re back in black for her funeral, Che to the fore once again lamenting her death with all of Argentina. Evita is an icon for women & Madelena Alberto’s invigorating turn is a triumph of passion & self realisation. A spectacular show!

Bord Gais Energy Theatre, Grand Canal Square, Dublin 2 / www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie / Herbstreet, Hanover Quay, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2 /www.herbstreet.ie

Sep 5, 2013

Cats – The Greatest Musical Ever

It’s no secret that Herbstreet is my fave restaurant in Grand Canal Dock. So that’s exactly where I went for a pre-theatre supper last week. Me & Dad sat by the window, twas a mild night & the water was rippling gently. The last of that summer feeling… We got our munch on with lemon and lime marinated chicken, Irish oak smoked salmon and fish tacos, made with local plaice, and sweet potato wedges.

Fine food in our bellies, we were ready for Cats at the Bord Gais Energy Theatre. A quick dash into Fresh for sweeties, a cup of tea in the foyer and we were soon seated close to the action. The last time I saw Cats was in London fifteen years ago. We used to go up the West End together whenever Dad visited, for London was my home, and it was him who introduced me to the joys of musical theatre.

Cats, of course, is legendary. One of the longest running shows in West End and Broadway history, Cats is a wonderful blend of music, song and dance. I still remember the magic! Written by Andrew Lloyd Webber and directed by Trevor Nunn, with tour direction and choreography by Chrissie Cartwright. This time Susan McFadden plays the role of Grizabella the Glamour Cat. Let the Jellicle Ball begin…

Based on T.S Eliot’s “Old Possum’s Book of Practical Cats”, this is the story of the Jellicle Cats, a motley crew of street cats who attend the annual Jellicle Ball with the hope of being reborn to the Heaviside Layer. Top cat, Old Deuteronomy presides while the cats sing and dance their way through each character’s personal story. The cats are a sight to behold with their tiger stripes and painted faces.

Set in a junk yard, the stage remains the same and it’s the choreography that sets the scene. The cast were amazing to watch as they flipped, pranced and crawled through high tempo numbers, opening with “Jellicle Songs for Jellicle Cats”, then “The Rum Tum Tugger”, “Mungojerrie and Rumpleteazer”, “Skimbleshanks, the Railway Cat” and “Magical Mr. Mistoffilees”. I had a huge grin on my chops!

Admiring the beautiful acrobatic cats, I wished I could sing and dance. I was sent to Irish dancing when I was five. Two left feet… The drama played out as the cats ran up and down the aisles, delighting the audience. More melancholy moments were the appearance of Grizabella the Glamour Cat and Gus the Theatre Cat, played by Paul F. Monaghan. In the background was menacing Mystery Cat Macavity.

The scene stealer was Susan McFadden, as Grizabella, with a jaw dropping version of “Memory”. McFadden made it her own, like original Elaine Paige had. A truly enjoyable show, Cats kept us on the edge of our seats from beginning to end. Enchanting and breathtaking it transported me to a child-like awe, like only Lloyd Webber can do. If you want to forget the world for a couple of hours, then go see!

www.catsthemusical.com / www.bordgaisenergytheatre.ie / Herbstreet, Hanover Quay, Grand Canal Dock, Dublin 2 / www.herbstreet.ie