It was just five minutes into the award-winning show at Milton Keynes Theatre when I discovered my love for Evita.
Perhaps it was the dramatic staging of the opening funeral scene or the powerful and world-famous music used in the Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s production.
But then again it could have been the sensational acting by Madalena Alberto as Eva and lead singer of Wet Wet Wet Marti Pellow who undertook one of the industry’s most coveted roles playing narrator Che.
Whatever it was that sold it to me in the first five minutes and gripped me so much that I didn’t want it to end, left me with goosebumps and a lump in my throat throughout.
Telling the story of Eva Peron, wife of former Argentine dictator Juan Peron, Evita follows Eva’s journey from humble beginnings through to extraordinary wealth, power and iconic status which ultimately lead her to be heralded as the ‘spiritual leader of the nation’ by the Argentine people.
Marti Pellow’s character Che reflects the voice of the Argentine people; linked to Eva by destiny he brings conflict to the story of Eva’s rise to fame - and his presence on stage is sensational.
Although he is no stranger to the West End, having starred in The Witches Of Eastwick, Chess, Jekyll & Hyde, Chicago and Blood Brothers, I found myself surprised at just how good Marti actually was.
His intense acting skills combined with his outstanding voice made for a treat for the whole audience as he remained on stage for the entire show.
As for the leading lady, Madalena was simply ravishing as she transformed from a bright-eyed ambitious teen into the political leader that went down in history.
To me, her voice is indescribable and Madalena does an incredible job of making the audience fall in love with her, despite her controversial and somewhat difficult character.
Her breathtaking performances are a pure delight to witness. I was completely blown away by her and shocked that I have not heard of her name before now, despite a role in Les Mis, Fame and Chicago.
As the show came to a close, I suddenly bolted out of my seat to give a standing ovation to a stupendous performance by all and an even more wonderful story that grips you until the bitter end.
Evita is running at Milton Keynes Theatre until June 1.
For tickets call the box office 0844 871 7652 or visit www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes