October 7, 2010.By Michelle Wilson, Twin Cities Metro Magazine. Theater Latté Da’s production of Evita was–overall–very satisfying, save for one thing.
The black and white set was visually pleasing and intellectually stimulating, establishing the presence of the masses and effectively conveying both the power of those governing and the instability of politics in Argentina. But a person’s story is black and white only on the printed page, with her true character usually falling into some shade of grey. The “black” part of the Eva Perón (nee Duarte) legend depicts her as a power-hungry whore who fought her way to the top using her womanly charms, until that final stylized dance of seduction with Juan Peron. The “white” part of the legend, the sainted Eva, is not as solidly conveyed by the script, but the masses’ bitter mourning of her death would validate that she did much work to better conditions for the poor.
The costuming in the production was delightful, with Eva’s parade of outfits ascending from florid red, silky and sensuous, to high-fashion perfection, to saintly white by the play’s end.
Evita is, in my opinion, a musical with one memorable song, but that is enough when it is such a gem, and Zoe Pappas’ strong, clear voice did it justice. She portrayed Eva with control, dignity and strength, even encountering a costuming malfunction with a grace and ingenuity that won her mid-scene applause.
My dissatisfaction? The one solo by ensemble member Francesca Dawis left me wanting much more, but in this production that was not meant to be. My solace is that we are sure to hear more from this little dynamo for many years, as she is only in 10th grade.
Evita Through November 14, 2010 $35 – 39
Ordway McKnight Theatre 345 Washington St., St. Paul