Evita is neater, at Felsted School

TEENAGERS have wowed an audience with a stirring performance of Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production Evita.

Felsted School’s production of the iconic musical was a dramatic tour de force, moving capacity audiences to tears on each performance of its five-night run in the school’s ivy-clad Grignon Hall.

Alternating in the starring role as Argentina’s beloved Eva Peron, Andrea Smith Valls (aged 18, from Little Dunmow) and Maddie Seacombe (17, from Wethersfield) performed with consummate maturity and professional �lan, meeting the challenge of each of the 24 songs in the show and exceeding all expectations with their clarity of tone and impeccable acting skills.

Favourites including ‘Don’t Cry for Me Argentina’ and ‘Buenos Aires’ were belted out with confidence and skill.

They were ably supported by their leading man, Dominic Oxnam (aged 16, from London), who brought arrogance and tenderness by turns to the character of General Peron, skilfully portraying his relationship with Eva as one of total devotion and reliance.

Similarly the dramatic presence of Will Hiett (age 16, from Chelmsford), Esme Smith (age 15, from Great Dunmow), and Tiffy Griggs (age 14, from Hildersham), in the split role of Che the narrator, stylishly brought together the strands of Eva’s life and held the audience transfixed.

Other standout performances included Sam Seacombe (age 15, from Wethersfield) as the caf� guitarist Magaldi, who dazzled the crowd with his elegant rendition of ‘On This Night of a Thousand Stars’.

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Director Dr Charles Lee was delighted with the success of the production and said: “It really sets a new benchmark, even by the school’s extremely high standards.”

The supporting cast was ably made up of students from the senior school aged from 13 to 18, as was the stage crew, who ensured a production of professional quality.

Not only was the set on a grand scale with a huge balcony, winding staircases and the widest stage ever erected in the Grignon Hall, it was also an evocative and strangely romantic setting for the main action, and provided the perfect backdrop for this sad but inspirational story.

Music was created by a specially formed on-stage orchestra, which brought a mesmerising atmosphere to the piece.

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