Hamilton - A Review
I’m not going to insult your intelligence and assume you haven’t heard of the biggest musical right now, but if you have been living under a large rock... under the sea... on another planet, then I’m talking about Hamilton. On paper, this shouldn’t be so exciting; musical based around American politics and the founding fathers. But holy cow if this isn’t the best ear worm I’ve ever had!
Written by the angel that is Lin-Manuel Miranda (who you may also recognise from some songs on the Moana soundtrack!), this musical cleverly incorporates so many styles of music, although mainly rap and hip hop with some cleverly inserted tropes and references to the scene that we will all recognise (for example in Helpless where Eliza sings ‘That boy is mine’, it is a reference to Brandy and Monica’s hit song and in the same song, where he growls the words ““as long as I’m alive Eliza, swear to God you’ll never feel so …”, this is a tribute to JaRule’s duets with Ashanti and JLo.)
The soundtrack has been on in my car, and in my head, for over a year now and even when I was taking my driving test, the line “there’s a million things I haven’t done, but just you wait!” Was playing on a loop as I attempted to parallel park. However, it wasn’t until actually seeing the show that I really appreciated the magic on another level.
I won’t give any spoilers away, but honestly, when something is based on accurate historical events AND the soundtrack gives away all the major plot points, you’d be hard pushed not to know what’s going on!
We were lucky enough to be bought tickets for Steven’s birthday, although it wasn’t until his following birthday that the big day rolled around. I was excited but a little apprehensive. After all, the original broadway cast recording was absolutely incredible - how would it compare?!
Well, it turns out, pretty bloody well!
Once you get over the fact that Arron Burr (sir) is played very differently (by the wonderful Gile Terera), it’s pretty damn incredible. On the soundtrack he seems kinda cool and aloof, whereas on stage he’s a little dorky and yet it really works. The only downside I would say is that his voice didn’t lend itself to Dear Theodosia in the same was that the original Burr, played by Leslie Odom Jr. did.
Hamilton is played by Jamael Westman and LMM has some pretty big shoes to fill but he did it. I laughed and cried and thought my heart would explode. His voice is breathtaking and his stage presence was perfect.
I also have to shout out to George Washington, played by Obioma Ugoala and Cleve September who played John Laurens (and Philip Hamilton but it’s hard to fancy him when he’s Philip) - they made this theatre fan thirsty for the presidential and anarchist.
There was something about Eliza played by Rachelle Ann Go that I didn’t love quite as much as the original. Her voice was stunning, don’t get me wrong, but I felt it didn’t have the same power behind it which is needed to show the heartache behind songs like Burn.
But honestly, what do I know, I can’t even hold a tune!
The staging is so clever, using a revolving circular section in the middle. It sounds lame when you describe it but in practise it shows the passing of time, and different places as well as simple acts such as rowing and walking.
One thing that really blew me away in this performance was the quality and complixity of the choreography. It was absolutely breathtaking and the dancers were spot on with every tiny move.
You don’t appreciate the humour in the show until you see it on stage. The timing, the small glances and changes in body language - I was laughing so hard! There are also completely heart-wrenching moments too, as you would expect, and they are played so perfectly that my soul hurts just thinking about it!
Even if you’re not into history (I’m not exactly a history buff), the story is still incredible. There are love-triangles and public affairs, deaths, births, rivalry and a hilarious portrayal of the British King.
One of my favourite moments of the show was the line “Immigrants: we get the job done” and the whole theatre bursting into spontaneous cheers and applause mid-song. It felt like we were all part of something amazing, no matter how cheesy that sounds! The atmosphere was truly electric.
In short, this is the best show I have ever seen. It is expensive, yes, but it is truly worth it. I’m dying to go back already!