Hamilton

"YOU need to be in the room where it happens!"

‘Hamilton’- The ground-breaking theatrical masterpiece that continues to captivate audiences worldwide- has finally started its highly anticipated run in Manchester. Since its induction in 2015, it has garnered consistent five-star reviews from audiences and critics alike. Does the regional premiere live up to its stellar reputation?

Set against the backdrop of America's founding era, ‘Hamilton’ breathes life into the story of Alexander Hamilton; blending historical accuracy with a contemporary musical score that pulsates with energy and innovation. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s legendary fusion of hip-hop, R&B, jazz, and traditional show tunes showcases an unprecedented musical tapestry, evoking a raw emotional resonance that dynamically propels the narrative. His lyricism and storytelling prowess intricately weaves together a tale of ambition, politics and the complexities of human relationships; resulting in a narrative that feels both epic and intimate.

The musical not only educates but also challenges conventional norms, whilst tackling themes of identity, legacy, and the cost of ambition. In this, ‘Hamilton’ redefines the very essence of musical theatre, delivering an electrifying and revolutionary experience that transcends boundaries and captivates audiences in a game-changing journey through history. Miranda's masterful creation ingeniously melds together music, storytelling, and performance art to craft an unforgettable theatrical experience.

At the heart of the show lies its exceptional cast, whose talent and dedication elevate the production to remarkable heights. Diverse and multicultural, this production celebrates inclusivity and sheds light on the universal struggles and triumphs that transcend time, making the story of Alexander Hamilton remarkably relatable and compelling for today's audiences. Each member of the ensemble embodies their characters with consistent depth, infusing them with humanity, passion and authenticity. 

With this in mind, it is an almost impossible task to highlight individual standout performances (but I’ll endeavour to do so!) Shaq Taylor embodies the character of Hamilton with great stamina and through all its guises, seamlessly taking the audience on his personal journey from an orphaned, immigrant child to a founding father of the United States. Aisha Jawando gave a deeply layered performance as Angelica Schuyler. Her powerhouse vocals teamed perfectly with the tenacity of her rapped verses (exemplified in ‘Satisfied’) added to her ubiquitous presence whenever she was onstage. In the second act, Billy Nevers came into his own as the self-assured Thomas Jefferson. I’m yet to see Nevers tackle a role that he doesn’t fully ring dry of theatrical opportunity and tonight truly was no exception. Special mention must also go to Daniel Boys as the ever-farcical King George. In a role that gives the audience some respite from the political aspects of the show, Boys panders to the audience with his subtle yet effective breaking of the fourth wall, filling the theatre with a convivial atmosphere.

The sheer brilliance of the show's choreography (expertly imagined by Andy Blankenbuehler) is breath-taking. The seamless integration of movement and visual spectacle transports viewers into a meticulously crafted world where every detail contributes to the narrative's richness. The fluidity of the transitions and the grandeur of the set design (by David Korins) generously complement the storytelling, creating an immersive experience that is both visually stunning and emotionally compelling. Adorn atop of this the effectiveness of the light and sound design and the result is simply flawless. 

‘Hamilton’ stands as a testament to the power of theatre, leaving an indelible mark on those fortunate enough to witness its theatrical wizardry that lingers long after the final curtain call. One thing stands to be said- YOU need to be in the room where it happens to experience this once in a generation phenomenon.

This show was reviewed on the 21st November 2023 at the Palace Theatre, Manchester where it runs until the 24th February 2024.  Tickets available here: Hamilton Tickets | Palace Theatre Manchester in Manchester | ATG Tickets

Full tour details can be found here: Home - UK and Ireland Tour - Hamilton Official Site (hamiltonmusical.com)

Review written by Lee Gregory

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Photo credit: Danny Kaan

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