Evita is a clockwork, dull exercise
Sean MacLaughlin and Caroline Bowman
Photo by Richard Termine
The latest iteration of Andrew Lloyd Webber's overwrought Evita arrives at the Ordway with a well-staged but ultimately empty production.
The singers hit all of the notes. The scenes move like clockwork. All of the pieces are in place, but the show felt like it was performed by robots instead of human performers.
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Some of that can be laid at the feet of Caroline Bowman, who portrays the actress-turned-spiritual leader of post-war Argentina. She plays her character with plenty of sharp angles, especially during Evita's first-act rise through society and into the arms of future husband Peron.
Yet the performance doesn't change much to let us inside the main character. Evita remains an enigma from beginning to end, with her true motivations hidden beneath the facade of her actions.
It doesn't help that Tim Rice's libretto offers little but the surface. Most of the story is told from the perspective of narrator Che (an equally superficial Josh Young), which means we hear about what motivates Evita without actually seeing it, hearing it, or feeling it from the title character.
As Peron, Sean MacLaughlin hits the ham side of the role, especially with a Darth-Vadar-esque scream when Evita dies. There's also not much spark between MacLaughlin and Bowman. The two middle-aged guys who danced together in one scene (likely because there were more men than women in the scene, rather than any social commentary) showed more chemistry than our leads.
All of that meant that Evita is pretty to look at, but is ultimately an empty exercise.
IF YOU GO:
Evita Through Sunday Ordway Center for the Performing Arts 345 Washington St., St. Paul $36-$110 For tickets and more information call 651.224.4222 or visit online
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