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Mission Impossible/Evita

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I finally got around to seeing the new Mission Impossible film, Dead Reckoning Part 1. I had seen a few reviews which weren’t exactly glowing but since I’ve seen all the rest and love Tom Cruise, off I went. I have to say, I loved it, it was a clever thriller but you need to listen at the beginning or you’ll miss what it is all about. Full of twists and turns, and some great action scenes, I couldn’t find much fault with it at all, other than I was not starring alongside Tom. At 2 hours 40 minutes, while that may appear long, the time just flew by and I would have happily sat for another hour as I was enjoying it so much. I won’t give much away in case anyone hasn’t seen it, but I would definitely recommend it. I had thought the franchise might be showing signs of flagging at this stage but far from it and I’m really looking forward to part two. Bring it on!

I was in Belfast a couple of weeks ago to watch Evita by the Ulster Operatic Company in the Grand Opera House. We stayed overnight in Leonardo’s (formerly Jury’s) on Great Victoria Street, just next door. Beautiful hotel and central to everything. It was enjoyable enough but I think I have been spoiled after seeing Jersey Boys in London a few years ago. Jersey Boys was such a professional show it made Evita look like a school production with a couple of professionals in the main roles. The leads were excellent and I especially want to acknowledge David McCrossan as Everyman, and Karen Hawthorne as Eva Peron, both brilliant singers. Caroline McMichael played Evita as a young girl and has to be commended for her role as she is only 17 years old.

I loved all the music but I have a problem when it comes to furniture on stage and believe the less the better, they had a double bed and single bed on in consecutive scenes, one would have been enough. The full force of the person of Eva Peron wasn’t really captured for me. My daughter in law knew nothing about Eva Peron before the show and still didn’t know much afterwards. I also felt some of the casting wasn’t right, especially regarding Eva getting rid of Peron’s mistress. The girl in the role was, I thought, too young and pretty to give the poignancy needed for the song ‘Another Suitcase, Another Hall’.

I also hate moving large pieces of the set around, they moved one of the larger pieces to the front of the stage for a brief while, to what end I couldn’t figure. When it comes to staging, I prefer minimal sets and changes, and unnecessary movements of props. Everything on stage should have a clear purpose and if you can tell the story without it, then get rid of it. The other criticism was that the show ended quite abruptly; we all felt that it merited another chorus of ‘Oh, What a Circus’, at least, to bring things to a proper conclusion.

Just another recommendation if anyone is heading to Belfast for a weekend or overnight, The Red Panda on Great Victoria Street is well worth a visit, excellent Chinese/Asian food.

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