In my experience, standing ovations at Milton Keynes Theatre are as rare as a British summer without any rain.
It takes something truly special to move an audience of people from the land of multiple roundabouts and concrete cows.
On Tuesday night, a performance of Evita proved to be the extraordinary show which brought the crowd to their feet and tears to their eyes.
The hit West End musical created in 1978 by the magic combination of Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice tells the rags to riches story of Argentine political leader Eva Peron.
One of the riskiest moves made by the producers of the current touring production of Evita was to cast Wet Wet Wet lead singer Marti ‘Love is All Around’ Pellow as the angry, sarcastic and disillusioned character of Che, famously depicted by Antonio Banderas in the film version.
Che is a brilliantly conceived, unique charcter who acts as an embittered narrator who reveals the side of Eva Peron she did not want “her people” to see.
After the first couple of songs, the first of which involves a lot of difficult scenes of ‘sing talking’, I thought Pellow appeared to be struggling in his role.
But he grew stronger as the show continued and, particularly in the second half, songs such as High Flying Adored and Waltz for Eva and Che, showed off his powerful voice.
Portuguese actress Madalena Alberto, playing the part of Eva, also seemed more comfortable in the latter part of the show as the older woman, culminating in a spine-tinglingly brilliant performance of You Must Love Me.
Don’t Cry For Me Milton Keynes, the truth is this is an unmissable show. To book tickets, go to www.atgtickets.com.