REVIEW: Amazing talent of local performers is showcased at Buxton Opera House production of Evita

Evita rehearsal. Credit David John KingEvita rehearsal. Credit David John King
Evita rehearsal. Credit David John King
Evita - as even a novice musical theatre aficionado will know has been the subject of countless professional tours and worldwide productions - a staple of the stage.

But how will players from our very own High Peak and surrounding areas fare in bringing this classic to life at our beloved opera house?

We're about to find out as murmurs echo around the audience and black and white historic footage of our subject - Eva Peron - is projected on to the curtains.

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For those unfamiliar, our focus here is Argentina between 1934-1952 and Eva's meteoric rise from poor illegitimate child to ambitious actress to, as wife of military leader-turned-president Juan Perón, the most powerful woman in Latin America.

Buxton Opera House Evita rehearsal. Credit: David John KingBuxton Opera House Evita rehearsal. Credit: David John King
Buxton Opera House Evita rehearsal. Credit: David John King

Lights up and Evita's requiem - the show starts with her death - immediately showcases the talents our our wonderful cast as they fill the opera house with a powerful chorus of voices.

We then rewind to the start of Eva's journey and the performances only continue to set new heights.

Catherine Pugh as Eva is a triumph - her depth of emotional range and faultless vocal performances would light up any West End stage.

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But we're in Buxton and it's a privilege to watch her breathtaking delivery.

Juan Peron - the 35th President of Argentina from 1946 to his overthrow in 1955- is played by Ross Clifton.

Opera house regulars will remember him from last year's panto where he played the Prince but his role here is an entirely different prospect.

I was impressed (again) by his formidable vocals and superb acting - another shining light of the stage that is choosing the opera house as his platform.

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Meanwhile, Luke Clayton is wonderfully adept and relatable as he weaves our story together with some fine storytelling as the revolutionary Che.

Our cast continues with Steve Sheppard as Agustin Magaldi and Sheri Cooper, Katherine Cooke, Rachel Taft and Molly Edwards as part of the ensemble.

There are also new faces on board, including Maggie Thompston, Charlie Wallis, Fred Denno, Nicholas Merrick, Christopher Sherborne, Paul Harrison, Beckie Timms, Hannah Goodwin, Clementine Wright, Verity Edwards, Emma Beever, Maria Carr and Olivia Beall.

The production, directed by Paul Kerryson, has been made possible by Arts Council England’s Lets Create strategy, and Buxton Opera House would like to thank them for their ongoing support in their ambitions to bring art, culture, and creativity to the High Peak.

Evita is running at Buxton Opera House from Thursday 25 – Sunday 28 April.

To book visit buxtonoperahouse.org.uk, or call the friendly Box Office team on 01298 72190.

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