Victoria Palace, London
Love London Love Culture might be late to the party – but was Hamilton worth the wait?
It is difficult to know what else to say about this musical that has already had so much praise and enthusiasm thrown at it – except that the energy is phenomenal from beginning to end and it is all performed by a cast who are supremely confident in their roles that it feels as though they have been playing the part for years as opposed to months on stage.
What impresses the most is the way in which Lin-Manuel Miranda has expertly crafted a musical out of an important part of American history and made it accessible for all – particularly for British audiences who will perhaps not be familiar with Alexander Hamilton’s story. His music and lyrics perfectly bring the story to life and keeps it interesting throughout, helped by Thomas Kail’s production which smartly keeps things simple but stylish in a way that allows the music and story to take centre stage without too many distractions.
Everything about this production is sharp and perceptive, enhanced further by Andy Blankenbuehler’s effective and at times aggressive choreography that highlights key elements of the story with ease – as showcased during numbers such as ‘Ten Duel Commandments’ and ‘My Shot’ for example.
The cast of course are supremely talented, all performing with sophistication that draws the audience into the story automatically. They are led by Jamael Westman as Alexander Hamilton himself, completely owning the role and showcasing the many different elements of the character to full effect including his passion, ambition, pride and arrogance while somehow still keeping the audience on his side when it would be very easy to make him a dislikable figure.
Elsewhere, Michael Jibson as King George was hilarious with his performance of ‘You’ll Be Back’ proving to be a real highlight of the show, the dry wittedness of the delivery working perfectly for his character. In terms of female performances, Rachel John was impressive as Angelica, her vocals and characterisation mesmerising to watch while Rachelle Ann Go is perfectly pitched as Eliza.
But it is also the attention to detail that really impresses – from the way in which the bullet is shown to be travelling in the direction of its intended target to the way in which the action rewinds during ‘Satisfied’ – everything has been cleverly put together structurally that really grabs the attention.
Overall, if this is a deeply fascinating and engaging musical that is definitely worth a watch at least once. Worth the wait? I would definitely say so.
Hamilton continues to play at the Victoria Palace Theatre. For more information visit: https://hamiltonmusical.com/london/