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Review | Hamilton | Victoria Palace Theatre | 30/11/2022

Hamilton tells the often-forgotten story of American founding father, Alexander Hamilton. Well, with international acclaim and a pro-shot recording on Disney Plus, this musical's story is now far from unknown with 11 Tony’s and 7 Olivier’s.

I was originally meant to see this in March 2020, but we all know what happened then! I tried to resist the pro-shot until theatres reopened, but that promise to myself lasted all of about 5 minutes and I absolutely loved it! I finally saw Hamilton in person earlier this year. Sometimes when you have over watched a pro-shot, the reality doesn’t stack up. However, this was not the case for this musical and I couldn’t wait to return to the Victoria Palace to rewatch it.

The stage is effectively a wooden balcony with movable stairs either side and is complemented by props to set the scene rather than elaborate scene changes. This is a wise decision. With the show being ‘sung through’ with little to no dialogue, the story moves more quickly than many musicals. Multiple revolves are built into the stage which are used cleverly to bring characters from one scene to another. What is really powerful though is the lighting design, used to section of parts of the stage as well as change the tone. This unsurprisingly won the late Howell Binkley both the Tony and Olivier Awards for best lighting design. It is almost its own character, so I would recommend seeing the show from an elevated position to be able to appreciate it.

Musical theatre anthem ‘Alexander Hamilton’ opens the show. It is one of the most adrenaline racing show openings I have ever experienced. I turned to the lovely @rachelreviewed (give her a follow on all the socials) with a VERY excited face during the rapturous applause that followed. Different characters enter one-by-one, setting the scene with lines rapped rather than spoken. I like to think 95% of my history knowledge is through musicals and this song alone packs a punch with so much information. You really do need to pay attention to the lyrics closely to follow the story, but it is so gripping that I challenge even the most sceptical ‘musical purist’ not to be transfixed.

The music throughout is absolute top tier. It is hip-hop but it is far from being one night. Who needs Destiny’s Child with ‘Schuyler Sisters’, who needs ‘8 Mile’ with the various ‘Cabinet Battles’ and who needs, well, OXYGEN with the lightning-speed rapping in ‘Guns and Ships.’ We really feel the power of the full ensemble in larger numbers and its spine tinglingly powerful (although on reflection I didn’t need the goosebumps with the frosty temperature inside the theatre).

Although only in it for a short amount of time, Joel Montague stole the show with his performance of King George. He was absolutely hilarious, locking uncomfortably sustained eye contact with those in his eye line. He really made the role his own and it was a joy watching him in this after previously loving him on the most recent UK tour of Chicago.

A vocal highlight was undoubtedly Shan Ako’s (Eliza Schuyler) tear-jerking rendition of Burn. We really feel every word she sang in her heartache; she really is a powerhouse. In fact, the whole cast are faultless. From Rueben Joseph’s keen portrayal of leading man Alexander to Simon-Anthony Rhoden’s perfect depiction of Aaron Burr, the cast are the strongest you could ever wish for.

If you are curious about Hamilton, try and see this current cast if you can. However, whoever you see you are in for a treat with Lin Manuel Miranda’s Tony sweeping masterpiece. Masterpiece is a word that shouldn’t be thrown around lightly but this really is a modern-day classic, and I implore you to get a ticket. Although tickets can be expensive, we booked a ‘slightly’ restricted view from Box B in the Royal Circle. At £52.50 each these were an absolute steal compared to other seats. Very little is missed and it gives a fantastic view. With legroom being notoriously tight at the Victoria Palace, it’s nice to watch the show in comfort!


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