Monday, 12 March 2018

Theatre Review (sort of): Hamilton

I finally saw Hamilton this weekend and, yes, it is amazing and wonderful and I am fully and instantly obsessed.

However, I’m also aware that the world needs another Hamilton review about as much as it needs another Donald Trump tweet right now. And I don’t really want to spend my pressure lunch hour expounding at length about things that everyone already knows. So what I thought I’d do, with your indulgence, is give you just a few observations on why the show is great - and in particular why the current London production is great. Look, it’s in bullet points and everything…

  • The show is a masterpiece. The music, and what it’s done to and for the musical form, is extraordinary. Believe the hype. All of it. 
  • Lin Manuel Miranda is a genius. This is indisputable fact at this point. 
  • Theatre wankery alert: there were like a lot of moments in this show where I found I was crying just because it was so good (this has only ever happened to me on one other occasion: Nathan Lane in Angels in America).
  • I wish someone had warned me how emotionally absorbing this show is, particularly in Act 2. It’s Quiet Uptown nearly killed me. Had I been more prepared I would at least have worn waterproof mascara. Not doing so was a major error.
  • The British cast is amazing. Further details below, but as a single entity they make me so hopeful for the future of British (musical) theatre.
  • There are two Hamiltons. I saw Ash Hunter and he is a superstar in the making. Or, more likely, a superstar made. 
  • The trio of supporting actors who have been Olivier Award nominated - Jason Pennycooke (Lafayette/Jefferson), Michael Jibson (King George III) and Cleve September (John Laurens/Philip Hamilton) - are all wicked awesome. Pennycooke in particular is having a frankly suspicious amount of fun. I loved watching him.
  • Rachelle Ann Go, as Eliza Hamilton, has the most beautiful voice. Also, Eliza Hamilton was far more kickass than I realised.
  • Understudies! There are many and they’re exceptional. I saw Miriam-Teak Lee on for Angelica Schuyler and Sifiso Mazibuko on for Burr and I wouldn’t have believed they were understudies had I not read the board in the foyer. Understudies are criminally underrated as a group anyway but these guys are off the hook.      
  • I’m a sucker for merch in any and all circumstances. There is so much merch here and it is so cool. I was in heaven. I am now significantly poorer.
  • Cameron Mackintosh’s refurbishment of the Victoria Palace Theatre is gorgeous and actually fit for purpose in the twenty first century. The seats are comfy, the sightlines are good, there are plenty of bars and plenty of space. I didn’t even have to queue for the ladies!!
  • I will see this show again, but I’m really sad that I’ll never get to see it for the first time again. It was truly special.

Hamilton is playing at the Victoria Palace Theatre, presumably for the rest of time.

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