It was a performance which had just about everything – a musical which told one of the world’s most famous political stories entirely by song.

Hexham Amateur Stage Society (HASS) brought Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Evita to the Queen’s Hall stage in fine style.

The story of Eva Peron’s journey from abject poverty to becoming the wife of Argentinian president Juan Peron, is far from straightforward.

The talented cast and orchestra used 27 songs, over two acts, to tell the story of romance and seduction, political power and leadership, as Evita rose through the social classes, before her untimely death.

In her programme notes, director Mari Watson said that so much of Evita was narration, and that it had been labelled in some quarters as an oratorio, rather than a musical or opera.

Whatever your view, audiences at the Queen’s Hall watched in awe as complicated and emotive dialogue was put to music.

It began at the end, with Eva’s funeral taking central stage, where the audience were introduced to the musical’s narrator Che.

Will Long was a natural in the role of the antagonistic, yet eloquent storyteller. He knew of Eva’s use of seduction to reach the top of the political world.

Che held Eva to account, asking her to fulfil her political promises of helping those in need, and the pair were involved in several emotive scenes, including Waltz for Eva and Che.

Peter Cooke played Juan Peron with aplomb. He spoke and sung with conviction, and along with Eva, had his loyal followers hanging on every word.

Selina Mankin excelled as Eva. A highly confident performance underlined her outstanding singing and acting abilities.

There was a dark political undercurrent, notably during the Art of the Possible, when military officers (Mike Routledge, Jim Wright, Robin Jowett, Steve Mobbs, Jim Bowyer, and Neil Richardson) were eliminated until only Peron remained.

There were more upbeat moments, including On This Night Of A Thousand Stars, I’d Be Surprisingly Good For You, A New Argentina, Rainbow High, and The Chorus Girl Hasn’t Learned.

There was an impressive performance from Eva’s first love Magaldi, played by the affable, versatile, and highly-effective Routledge.

There were considerable contributions from a band of aristocrats, who turned political support into a music form, while an army of singers, which included children, were all vital components.

Skilful acting included a scene where Eva, in her sick bed, was moved off one side of the stage, before somehow re-emerging in glamorous attire, from the other side.

There are far too many names to mention, but this was a first class performance from HASS. Not only by the cast, but also by the creative team and orchestra, which was on top form throughout.