Friday and we were off to see Evita, I have been asked to tell you all about it, so here it is warts and all.
It must be twelve years since I last went to Venue Cymru, in fact it was not even called that then. The reasons we have not been for so long soon became obvious, to reach anywhere around the N Wales Coast it is necessary to drive down A55.
I would have thought after all this time they would have finished the road works, but no. It took us over an hour to travel less than three miles, at one point I was convinced we would miss the performance, never mind the meal, but thanks to Viv’s foresight in leaving early, we arrived at almost dead on six, with ten minutes to spare, but my blood pressure through the roof. Why it is necessary to constantly dig this road up I have no idea. They talk of improvements, but to my mind, the best improvement they could make, is to get rid of the three sets of road works, that occur in a twenty mile stretch of road.
Our table was booked for quarter past six, but thankfully it was ready when we arrived. The menu was different from the sample menu we had had, shame I really wanted the honey glazed pork. The food was actually very good and the service was excellent. My only small criticism is that I could not understand the menu, no, it wasn’t in Welsh, but everything was described in flowery terms that actually meant very little.
Viv ended up with a rice dish covered in cheese (she is not a cheese lover) and I ended up with a fruit salad for pudding. Viv said “it’s not like you to have the healthy option” Still it’s to their credit that we really still enjoyed the food.
We managed to finish and pay the bill by twenty past seven, leaving us ten minutes clear to get to our seats.
As my company was paying (although they don’t know yet) we had the best seats, and the view from here is awesome. We sat and waited for the performance to start.
The first half, was enjoyed by almost everyone, but me being an old misery, I had a few criticisms. Evita’s life story was (certainly the version I have read) filled with tango, it filtered into every part of her life. The music had been slightly jazzed up and now it was more like Samba. Also the guy accompanying the tango singer was playing a piano accordion, not a bandoneon. Small criticisms aside, it was very enjoyable, and as Viv said, it was not aimed at a tango audience, I particularly liked the Quilmes advert on the bar (very authentic and gave me a thirst). I also enjoyed the rendition of another suitcase another hall, I thought the girl deserved a bigger part, but then I suppose She would not have been singing that song, you can’t have everything.
The second half, moved into another gear. Where Evita stood on the balcony singing Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, it must be one of the most powerful and moving pieces of musical theatre ever, it was just awesome.
At one point there is a solo from a child of no more than ten years old, cynic that I am, I hate to see people fawning over child stars just because they are children, but this child had real talent, she held the audience in her hands.
The stage setting is also worth a mention; There were three sets of steps and balustrades, which when moved around formed various interiors and also the balcony of the Casa Rosada, pillars which came down from above along with some clever lighting effects created all the different scenes. The mix of lighting and the height of the balcony created a sort of saint like aura around Evita when she sang Don’t Cry for me.
I found the scene where Evita is dying particularly moving, Ok again it had moved away from the true story but after all this is theatre. When the curtain finally fell, the cast were greeted with rapturous applause.
After all this the drive home was quiet, all the traffic had dispersed, although of course the bollards were still in place.
Watch out for the report on the first Gresford Milonga, coming soon.