OH, what a circus, oh what a show, Argentina is coming to town thanks to Mid Cheshire Musical Theatre Company.

Andrew Lloyd Webber’s high flying adored musical Evita is playing at Northwich Memorial Court from September 25 to 28 and will include a special exhibition about the show’s leading lady, Eva Peron.

It’s quite a coup for the theatre company which has become the first amateur performance group in the Cheshire area to be given performing rights for this award-winning show.

Taking the lead as the First Lady of Argentina – a role made famous on stage by Elaine Paige and in film by Madonna – is Colette Williams, who it seems was destined to play to this iconic part.

Northwich Guardian:

A performer since the age of four, the mum of two from Dutton played the role of the young Eva at the age of 10 when a professional version of the production stopped at the Liverpool Empire.

“I absolutely fell in love with the show,” said the 42-year-old. “I have always, always wanted to play this part.”

Having studied at Liverpool’s Shelagh Elliott-Clarke Centre of Excellence until the age of 18, Colette travelled the Mediterranean as a Ray Cornell Artistes and Productions performer, dancing and singing on cruise ships. She then toured the UK as part of a singing duo, before setting up Falcon Technology with her husband Stephen.

It had been a while since she last performed when the open audition call for Evita came, and Colette says she just new she had to ‘go for it’.

Northwich Guardian:

“It’s as though the stars were aligned,” she said. “Over the years I’ve had my eye on various productions but as we do a lot of exhibitions with our business, the dates never seemed to line up.

“On the day of the open audition, I was actually setting up an exhibition in Harrogate but I just had to drive home to make that evening’s audition.”

It was worth the 85-mile trip home because after two auditions, at which she wowed the theatre company’s committee, the role was hers.

Committee member Liz Cooley said: “She just blew us away. She’s a fantastic performer, she absolutely owns the stage.

“In fact the whole cast is absolutely fantastic. I’ve been to watch rehearsals a few times now, and each time I have had tears in my eye.”

The show is an intense experience for Colette who, despite nine costume changes and four wig switches, is only off stage for around 10 minutes throughout the entire production. But she wouldn’t have it any other way, and as well as the famous ‘balcony scene’ where she will perform Don’t Cry for Me Argentina, she is especially looking forward to her favourite number from the show, You Must Love Me.

Northwich Guardian:

“It’s such an emotional role, and this song is especially powerful. I am so looking forward to performing it,” she said.

Evita charts the story of Eva Peron, wife of Argentine dictator Juan Peron, from her humble beginnings through to the extraordinary wealth, power and status which ultimately led her to be heralded as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’ by the Argentine people.

During her short life (she died in 1952 at the age of 33) she became a national icon, but she was a divisive figure, beloved by working classes but opposed by the military and bourgeoisie.

An adding factual context to her story will run alongside the production. It has been curated by Peter Jones, whose mother and grandparents lived in Argentina, before and during Eva Peron’s tenure as First Lady.

Peter, aged 49, said: “Mum was born in 1940 in Rosario and left in 1953, a year after Eva died as the country went into revolution.

Northwich Guardian:

“I’ve always been aware of her (Eva’s) story and Don’t Cry for Me Argentina is probably my earliest childhood musical memory when it came out in 1976, when I was aged six.”

Part of the exhibition is a ballot asking the audience to vote on whether they think Eva Peron was a saint or sinner.

“There are many amazing but not very well-known facts about Evita and the idea is to make the viewing of any film or play connected to her more enjoyable,” Peter explained.

“We ask the audience to vote whether she was a saint or sinner after the performance. She hasn’t been voted a sinner yet, but it has been close sometimes.”

Evita runs from Wednesday, September 25 to Saturday, September 28. Evening showings are from 7.30pm with a matinee performance at 2pm on Saturday.

Tickets are available from ticketsource.co.uk/brioleisure