Entertainment & Culture Theatre

Hamilton theatre review

Written by Christian Butler

The extraordinary Hamilton is now playing at the Victoria Place Theatre in London’s West End.

The hit Broadway musical uses hip hop to tell the story of one of the founding fathers of America.

Direct from Broadway

The production has transferred from a hugely acclaimed Broadway run. Tickets are hard to come by there as it sells out so quickly and at such a high price. That production was nominated for more Tony Awards than any other show in the history of Broadway. It went on to win a whopping 11 Tonys.

The story

The musical is inspired by the extraordinary real-life story of Alexander Hamilton. He was one of the founding fathers of the USA. The show portrays his life, from his rise in politics and  The War of Independence, right up to his eventual death in a duel with Aaron Burr. As well as charting the creation of America, the show excellently portrays other character affected by Hamilton. This includes the Schuyler sisters, one of which marries Hamilton while another loves him. The show also comedically portrays how King George reacts to the show’s events back in England.

The score

The show’s marvellous score is written by Lin-Manuel Miranda. He also starred as Hamilton in the original production. The score brilliantly fuses classic Broadway forms with contemporary music like rap and R ‘n’ B. The cast album has achieved such popularity that a mixtape of the songs featuring guest artists reached No.1 in the US charts.

The cast

The show is famous for its diverse cast. While the historical figures were all white in real life, they are played by actors of ethnic minorities in the show. This serves as a comment on many of the characters’ immigrant status and the modern meaning of what an American is. Hamilton himself is played by newcomer Jamael Westman. He makes his West End debut at the age of 25. He is joined by the sensational Giles Terera as Aaron Burr. Terera has had supporting roles in great shows like Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon. He finally won Best Actor at the Oliviers for his role in Hamilton.

The production

The story has great fun and humour, but also portrays many tragic events. A minimal set is brought to life by dynamic staging and choreography. Characters wear period clothing and often play multiple roles. Rap is used excellently to bring 18th Century America to life. For example, the debates in the Cabinet are portrayed as rap battles.

All in all, the musical’s mixture of crossover appeal and intelligent writing make it the definitive musical of this generation.

For tickets and more information about Hamilton, visit hamiltonmusical.com.

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