Standing ovation for Ballinrobe Musical Society’s Evita

Tanya Gill (Ballinrobe), Fiona Conway (Ballinrobe), and Deirdre Divilly (Claregalway) enjoying Ballinrobe Musical Society’s Evita. Photo: Trish Forde

Tanya Gill (Ballinrobe), Fiona Conway (Ballinrobe), and Deirdre Divilly (Claregalway) enjoying Ballinrobe Musical Society’s Evita. Photo: Trish Forde

Transition year student at Ballinrobe Community School

The Ballinrobe Musical Society marked its 69th anniversary with a stunning performance of the world famous show Evita last week. New director Liam Butler kicked off his first year directing in Ballinrobe with a show unlike most of the previous shows performed by the society. Evita was a much heavier and darker show than usual, and this drew much speculation from locals and the supporters and fans of Ballinrobe Musical Society.

Evita follows the story of Eva Peron, a poor girl who begins her career as an actor when she runs away to the city with a tango singer from the boarding house her mother runs. The play then begins to portray Eva as someone who will use anyone she thinks will help her get to power. After working her way through a string of men to reach fame and fortune, she eventually becomes a successful actress, broadcaster and model. At the same time, Juan Peron has been working his way up the military ladder and is now one of the several military leaders close to presidency of Argentina. Eva and Juan meet at a charity event held to raise money for the victims of an earthquake, and they realise both have something the other one wants.

Eva and Juan get married and Juan becomes president of Argentina, much to Eva’s delight. Argentina quickly falls in love with the beautiful president’s wife thanks to her emotional and brilliant speeches. Eva’s next goal is to become loved throughout Europe, however she only receives the reception she wants in Spain. As the story progresses Eva becomes more and more loved by the Argentine people, but more and more despised by narrator-of-sorts “Che” (Dave Langan ). Eventually, Eva realises that she is ill, but refuses to give in to her illness and resolves to become vice-president. However both the opposition and the illness she is facing are too great. She makes a broadcast to the nation, rejecting the post of vice-president. Then, tragically, Eva dies of cancer, aged 33.

However, despite the lack of humour that this show had, and the dark, tragic nature of the narrative, the fact that it still drew a standing ovation from the audience on more than one night speaks for itself.

Angela Curley, who played the lead female role as Eva Peron and Michael Coen, who played her husband, Juan Peron, were especially impressive, despite it being Angela’s first ever performance in Ballinrobe. Angela made her first big break in 2002 where she got her first leading role as Calamity Jane, and was then nominated for an AIMS award as best newcomer for her performance. Michael Coen’s reputation speaks for itself, having been nominated for eight AIMS awards and bringing home the award on four occasions, and its a reputation that his performance certainly lived up to. Yet another very impressive performance from the Ballinrobe Musical Society.

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