Hamilton, a show which I really don't think needs much of an introduction.  From the pen of Lin Manuel Miranda, this show is colossal in every way, having won countless awards, including a Tony Award for Best Musical and a Grammy Award for Best Musical Theatre Album.  This was my 4th time seeing the show, however a first for my hometown of Birmingham and an especially wonderful moment for my favourite venue, my second home if you will, the Birmingham Hippodrome.  To have such a beast of a show on my doorstep is a delight and needless to say, in the words of King George, I can guarantee that once you've seen it 'You'll Be Back'.

Firstly, the set (David Harris - UK Associate Set Designer) is gigantic and fills the entirety of the stage.  The use of a revolve is a stroke of genius and enables the performers to cover as much ground as possible, slowing down the action when needed and speeding it up during the more intense moments.  The ensemble cast feel part of the set, as they faultlessly provide very slick choreography (Aisling Duffy) which elevates the show to even higher standards.  Every move is exaggerated and contemporary in its execution helping to move the story along at pace.  There isn't a moment to breathe for these wonderful performers who are the lifeblood of the production.  A big round applause to the ensemble cast for the unwavering energy and commitment to their roles.

The costuming (Ella Denis King - UK Costumer Associate) is what you would expect from the moment in history the story is set, the late 1700's.  Every costume is striking, especially the regalia worn by King George (Daniel Boys) as he struts around the stage.  Obviously with a show like Hamilton, no expense has been spared in the construction of the costuming, adding another element to the overall visual.

Now, let's talk about the cast.  I have two highlights from the whole show, that being Billy Luke Nevers as Marquis de Lafayette / Thomas Jefferson and Daniel Boys as King George.  There wasn't a moment that passed without these two raising the stakes and providing stand out performances throughout.  Nevers just has star quality and with playing the flamboyant Frenchman during Act 1, and then Thomas Jefferson in Act 2, the confidence and ability to perform to an exacting standard really did make me feel easy and comfortable watching him.  

Daniel Boys is pretty perfect in the role of King George.  The comedic value in 'You'll Be Back' was eaten up and spat back out by Boys who expertly delivered every cheeky facial expression, quick glance to the audience and his villainous streak was absolutely spot on!  Even though only appearing on stage fleetingly throughout this 2 1/2 hour show, the impact he made was huge.

Further fantastic casting choices came from Shaq Taylor as Alexander Hamilton, Sam Oladeinde as Aaron Burr and Charles Simmons as George Washington.  Each and every one of these performers delivered confident, passionate and faultless performances throughout.  When the production value of each number is so big, you need a cast who can match that energy.  The opening number 'Alexander Hamilton' set the mark and from there it was upwards, with many impressive musical moments, including 'My Shot', The Room Where It Happens' and 'What'd I Miss'.

The orchestra, under the musical direction of Zach Flis provided a magnificent sound.  If you've ever seen the show, or listened to the cast recording, you will know how fast and technical some of these songs are.  There was not a beat missed throughout and it always baffles me how the performers are able to deliver these very 'wordy' songs with an air of ease.  The rehearsal process alone to perfect these numbers must be vast, however the hard work has clearly paid off with some unforgettable moments.

Hamilton famously took Lin Manuel Miranda 10 years to write, however its success speaks for itself.  Still selling out the Victoria Palace Theatre in London, and now embarking on its first UK & Ireland Tour, it's clear that the Hamil-fans are still loving this show, since its first outing off-Broadway in 2015.  There has to be some parallels made to the current political times we are living in, and I truly believe that if our politicians were able to debate through the medium of rap and mic drops, we may well stand up and listen!

Hamilton is, and continues to be the proverbial musical theatre beast and will definitely leave you satisfied!

This show was reviewed on the 28th June 2024 at Birmingham Hippodrome where it runs until the 31st August 2024.  Tickets available here: Hamilton – Birmingham Hippodrome

Review written by Emma Rowley


Photo credit: Danny Kaan

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