Last night Evita arrived at Edinburgh Playhouse following a smash hit run at London’s Dominion Theatre.
Telling the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentinian dictator Juan Peron, the show follows Eva’s journey from struggle to power.
Performer Emma Heaton plays the role of Eva. She has recently finished playing the lead role of Elphaba in the West End production of Wicked. Prior to this, she performed principle roles in a variety of West End and touring productions.
The intensity of the show is heightened by dramatic music. Live orchestrations by Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Cullen played though out the night.
Eva’s journey begins with her burning desire to be an actress, before a move to Buenos Aires enables her to try her luck and build her career and image as an actress, getting work with various theatres and in 1939 lands herself a significant role in a play broadcasted on Argentinian radio.
In 1942, a military regime seizes power in Argentina: one of its leading figures is Colonel Juan Peron. Established in her radio career, Eva is attracted to the powerful men now in charge of the country, as she begins to consider other ambitions.
In 1944, an earthquake takes place and Peron organises a national relief effort and invites the most popular stars of the time to participate. A week later, a festival is held at Luna Park Stadium, with proceeds going to the earthquake victims. Here is where we see Eva focus her attention to Peron during this first encounter.
She makes clear, her intentions are not for them to just spend the night together but wants something meaningful, believing they could be good for each other during their musical number, “I’d Be Surprisingly Good for You”. The two start a relationship and become married the following year, before Person wins the country’s election, making Eva the first lady of Argentina.
Feminism starts to become a positive theme throughout the production as Eva starts to gain power and creates the lifestyle she wants, now referring to herself as Evita. In her own words, she thinks of herself as “not just the spouse of the president of the Republic… I am Eva Peron, the wife of the president… and I am also Evita, the wife of the leader of people who have deposited in him all their faith, hope and love”.
Her achievements include making contributions to the newspaper ‘Democracia’ in 1947. In turn, its circulation rapidly increased from 6000 to 40,000 as her admirers flocked to buy copies. When Peron is unavailable to travel, Eva takes on a European tour herself.
Keeping in line with newly found political status; Eva broadcasts a message every week urging women to join her in the struggle for their rights, in particular for the right to vote.
The Maria Eva Duarte de Peron Foundation was established, with the aim of bridging the gaps in the national safety. Eva works longer and longer hours and begins to suffer from ill health. She soon undergoes an operation that is unsuccessful. She votes for Peron from her hospital bed, the first election in which women are allowed to vote.
The 4th of June 1952 is when Eva is last seen alive in public, the day Peron is sworn in for his second term.
Despite serious themes to do with death, politics and natural disasters the show still manages to carry a humorous tone as Eva takes on her new adventures.
The show will be in town until the 11th of this month, with shows on at 2.30pm and 7.30pm.