This has been running in London for two years, and arrived with a great fanfare after Broadway success and Tony wins. It’s still being advertised as “the room where it happens”, but is it really all that?
This is my first visit to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, which has been described as the greatest musical ever made. (Spoiler: it isn’t). Money has clearly been poured into this production by the bucketload, and it shows. Everything is slick. The lighting, the sets, the music, the choreography.
The theatre, although cramped in the cheaper seats, has been sensitively renovated, and the show is clearly selling well to tourists from outside the UK, and repeat visitors. It seems to be popular amongst younger audiences, perhaps because of a reliance on modern music forms like hip-hop, which represent roughly 50% of the score.
The truth is, I just didn’t care about Alexander Hamilton, so when he faces adversity like blackmail, family bereavement and a Salieri-Mozart type relationship with “your villain” Aaron Burr, I find it hard to get emotionally involved.
The cast work hard – I liked Sufiso Mazibuko as Burr (great voice throughout) and Rachelle Ann Go as Hamilton’s wife, Eliza, in particular – but the lack of a central character to click with weakened the piece as a whole. Light relief from King George III (Gavin Spokes) was fun but frankly out of place, and Angelica (Sharon Rose), who saw Hamilton first but let her sister marry him, was well acted.
Musically, Hamilton doesn’t know where to put itself. The hip-hop opening, the rap trash talk over the Constitution, the comic number with a catchy refrain for the King, and more traditionally melodic musical numbers sat uneasily together, and made the show as a whole drag badly in places.
Photos by Matthew Murphy. Hamilton continues at the Victoria Palace.
Please note that the paperless ticketing system currently in operation comes to an end in early December, from which time tickets will be posted out. I’m told by a staff member at the Victoria Palace this will increase ticket touting but, be sensible if you want to see Hamilton. Prices range between £30-200, so there is something for everyone, and the view from the grand circle is absolutely fine