So, it happened. I went to the room where it happened. And it was amazing.
Lets throw some context into this post. On Saturday, I finally got to see Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre. I’ve been obsessed with the soundtrack for about two years and watched just about every video I could find online. As soon as I heard it was coming to the west end, I got on that pre sale list and somehow managed to get tickets for a show in the first few weeks. I listen to the soundtrack on a daily basis. I love Lin Manuel Miranda. I had high expectations. Somehow, those expectations were met and some! It’s safe to say I was blown away by just how amazing it was.
I laughed. I cried. I was in awe by the amazing cast.
Okay, this is for all you who have no clue what I’m on about. Hamilton is a musical about the life of Alexander Hamilton, the forgotten founding father. It follows America fighting for independence and slavery and Alexander’s part in it all as well as the story of his love life. So that’s a quick little run down of the plot for you all!
I’m pretty sure that the staging is the same as the broadway show. It’s wooden with walkways and a revolving stage. It is such clever staging and even though it’s quite minimal, it’s also very intricate and really works at telling the story. The lighting is also amazing. Not only does it set the tone and mood for each scene (whether it’s a happy scene, a fight scene or a death scene) it really adds to them and makes it feel much more real.
Before I go more in-depth into the why, it’s safe to say I absolutely loved Hamilton.
The audience seemed to be just as in love with the show too. There was such a mix of age groups, with a large proportion of the audience been a similar age to me. It was great to see a jam packed theatre with everyone excited and incredibly invested in the show. With an enthralled audience, clapping after nearly every song and an incredible standing ovation at the end (even though most of us were in tears) it was an electric atmosphere.
It was amazing to see the songs I’ve listened to daily live and in the context of the actual play. To hear an actual orchestra playing these songs was breathtaking and added a whole new element to an already loved soundtrack. What surprised me was the songs I’ll sometimes skip on Spotify were the one’s I loved the most. Farmer’s Refuted live is brilliant and had the whole audience laughing. The sass level of Alexander in this was hilarious.
Everyone knows the songs in context of Lin Manuel Miranda sining/rapping them however he as openly said he isn’t really a singer. The day I saw the show was when it was the alternative Hamilton, Ash Hunter, who was outstanding in the role. To hear songs such as Dear Theodosia sung was beautiful and added a new dynamic.
King George’s songs are some of my favourite on the soundtrack (and not just because Johnathan Groff sings them!). However, his character is absolutely hilarious. Michael Jibson really captures the comedy of the character and genuinely had the whole audience in stitches. After singing I Know Him and he stays on the stage for a little bit, he grabbed your attention because you had no clue what he was going to do next.
Giles Terera played the role of Aaron Burr who acts as the narrator of the story. He was a really strong character who not only had a fantastic voice but also commands the stage well. I think his character, especially when next to Alexander, really highlights that you should always stand up for what you believe in and go for what you want because sitting on the sidelines will never get you anywhere.
Two characters who I absolutely adored were Lafayette & Thomas Jefferson played fantastically by Jason Pennycooke. Not only do these characters really stand out because of their sass and values, Pennycooke really grabs the audience’s attention with how he acts these characters and makes them incredibly funny. Cleve September played the roles of John Laurens and Phillip Hamilton and played on the audiences heartstrings beautifully and had be in tears twice. Rachel John has the most amazing voice and got the complex emotions of Angelica perfectly.
The ensemble for the show are also outstanding. They have such physical roles as there is a lot of dancing and movement and whilst there isn’t a lot of them, they really fill the stage and make it feel like there’s more. I was amazed at how their dances really helped tell the story and added to it.
My final thoughts are how fast paced the show is. It grabs your attention from the very start and I never once lost focus from the show. I didn’t want to miss a second of it because everything seems essential to the story. It was honestly one of the quickest two and forty five minutes and I really wish it was longer because I didn’t want it to end. I was in awe from start to finish and just how brilliant it was.