Evita Youth production

1st April 2016

Musical cast includes a North Norfolk sister act

Two sisters are playing love rivals in a youth musical telling the story of one of the 20th century’s most influential and tragic women.

Twenty year old Paris Chandler is stepping into the starring role of Argentinian First Lady Eva Peron.  And younger sister Chloe, 17, plays Peron’s mistress who is ousted by the upwardly-mobile, actress turned political reformer Eva.

The sister act in Sheringham Little Theatre’s Evita show is not unusual for the showbizzy siblings.

The Aylsham pair have regularly been seen on stage at the town’s high school drama productions – both of them taking leading roles in recent years – and also help mum Jo Chandler run her West End Experience events for would-be young stage stars.

Paris, who is waiting to start an English Literature degree at the UEA  said she was intoxicated by the songs and story of Evita, which told the story of a strong woman, who was “sassy, independent and ambitious” and rose from the streets to political power.

The pop opera charts Eva’s life from a starry-eyed teenager from a poor family who sought fame as an actress. She helped her career by social climbing in the world of politics, helped with political reforms making her popular with the people, but died from cancer aged just 33.

Chloe, who is at Paston Sixth Form College, added she and Paris, whose dad is Radio Norwich presenter  Rob, were close as sisters and enjoyed performing together. They are just two of 40 young cast and crew members, aged from eight to 21, in the sixth youth production staged by the theatre as part of its community role to encourage young people to get involved in the performing arts.

Theatre director Debbie Thompson said the youth productions aimed to give opportunities for talented young people in North Norfolk to “make friends, learn theatre and social skills, work as a team, and gain self confidence.”

Show director Tracey Loftus said: “It is incredible to watch some previously timid children blossom during the shows.  “There are no petty jealousies. They all support each other,” said the former Mundesley school teacher and member of Mundesley Players.

A lot of commitment was involved, with rehearsals for the Easter show beginning in December. The youngsters give up all day every Sunday initially, before stepping up to midweek too as show time gets closer and a full week of final polishing before curtain up.

Mrs Loftus said Evita combined social history with a heart-rending human tale, great Latin beats and songs that “get under your skin”.

Well-known songs include Don’t Cry for Me Argentina which topped the UK singles charts at Christmas 1976 sung by Julie Covington, Another Suitcase Another Hall (charted by Barbara Dickson) and Oh What a Circus (a hit for David Essex).

Joining her on the production team are pianist Kate Munro, vocal coach Evie Anderson and choreographer Vikki Feetham who is helping the young cast tackle dance numbers such as the Argentinian tango.

Narrator Che is played by Joe Annison, 20, from North Walsham, whose employers at Marsh Insurance gave him £200 for his voluntary work as bar manager at Worstead Festival – cash which Joe has donated to the Evita show to help buy a computerised vocal coaching system.

Evita runs at the Sheringham Little Theatre from April 2- April 9 (7.30pm nightly except April 3, plus a 2.30pm matinee on April 9). Tickets via the box office 01263 822347 or visit sheringhamlittletheatre.com

The Little Theatre’s next youth production will be a mid-September concert of show songs. To get involved email debbie@sheringhamlittletheatre.com

Evita