Monday, February 17, 2014

Nordic Reviews: Evita

You know what? I really like the character of Che in the musical Evita. Like, really like him. In that almost scary way where, whenever the character is onstage, I can't look at anyone else. I even have an iTunes playlist with three hours of Che’s songs from different productions.

So, you can guess how happy I was to see that Det Ny Teater's production of Evita is as much about Che's story than it is about Eva Perón's. 

Let’s be fair and talk about the leading lady first, though.

Charlotte Guldberg as Eva was a strong lead. I might not be the hugest fan of the tone of her voice, but technically, she sung the part quite beautifully – and managed to convey Eva’s character arc well, too. Her Eva was a woman who really held onto her ambitions until the very end and clearly faced the biggest challenge of her lifetime when it became apparent that she has to give up. The character’s possible sympathetic side was somewhat overshadowed by her ambitious side (despite following the movie’s example and giving the song Another Suitcase in Another Hall to Eva – a change I really like, by the way), but overall, it was a fine performance.

Jesper Lohmann’s Perón, then, didn’t quite keep up with his Eva: personally, I think both Lohmann’s voice and his stage presence were a bit lacking for the part. I simply prefer deeper voices and somehow more authorative acting in the role.

But, as said, my eyes were on Tomas Ambt Kofod as Che for most of the time. And I really enjoyed what I got to see.

Kofod loaded his performance with genuinely funny moments and plenty of energy, but the character also had a deeper, darker side. Throughout the show, we got to see Che's attitude towards Eva changing in a way I don't think I've quite seen in any adaptation so far. He of course begun the show with a very critical tone – but then, we went back in time and suddenly saw a Che who's excited about what's happening, hopeful about the changes Eva might bring along. And then we got to see how he gradually got more and more cynical, lost more and more of that hope.  

[If you are planning to see this production, you might not want to read the following pharagraph. I know I would've been mad had someone spoiled this for me!] And then the final scene. The very last image of the show wasn't of Eva, it was of Che. The show went for the Che-as-everyman route, which I prefer... But then, at the very last moment of the show, he put on the hat with the star in front and turned into Guevara. And that I'm sure it's historically very inaccurate, but I still loved the twist. It completed the character arc and completely surprised me.

Overall, I enjoyed this production. It had its flaws – for example, a couple of songs, like The Art of the Possible and A Waltz for Eva and Che, felt rather confused direction-wise. But when it comes to the two leading characters’ stories as a whole, and the general look and sound of the production, I really liked it. If Denmark wasn’t so far away, I think I’d like to see this once or twice again.

Photos by Miklos Szabo.


  1. Fans of Che, unite!

    Ahem. I might want to see that production. Like, really hard.

    Yesterday I was browsing through my Evita - The Legend of Eva Peron book by Tim Rice and ALW from 1978, and in that (original?) libretto, the final bracket text before Eva's Lament is Che has become the Guevara we all know and love. So, contrary to my beliefs, the Guevara plot twist has been there since 1978, but he really is "supposed" to turn from Everyman-Che into Guevara-Che only in the end, as a result of Eva's actions. So glad to hear the production did that! I also fangirl a Che who genuinely does the switches between a fanboy and a cynical commentator.

    1. Haha, yes! :D

      Wow, really? I had no idea either! Though, actually, I'm glad I didn't know about the twist beforehand – it was nice that I got to be genuinely surprised by it yesterday...