The performance of Evita last night cemented for me the fact that the Theatre on the Bay is Cape Town’s best theatre. The Artscape is the flagship, the Baxter is a joy but frankly when it pulls out the stops, the tiny Theatre on the Bay can beat either of them hands down.
The recent renovations to the building have brought a new pizzazz to the entrance foyer and bar so already expectations were heightened. But for me the biggest delight of Evita was the staging. With static architectural scenery, the various venues were implied by simple props carried boldly on and off set by members of the cast, creating a seamless transition from scene to scene. The revolving stage was a wonder, giving a sense of space on an otherwise very small set, and even a sense of movement through time. Most dramatically though, it gave a spectacular three dimensional element to the choreography – especially of the larger cast pieces which were, quite simply, perfect.
All of this would not have mattered however had the sound quality and the lighting been amiss. They weren’t. They were absolutely spot on.
And then there’s the cast who were, to a person, superb. Angela Killian in the lead role was dazzling and I particularly enjoyed James Borthwick. In the role of Peron he brought a tender humanity to contrast with Eva’s diamond-edged determination. An absolutely rock-solid casting.
Deserving of a much bigger theatre, I feel warmly privileged to have seen Evita in the intimate setting of the Theatre on the Bay. Get a ticket while you still can.