If I die tomorrow, aside from still needing to see Shinedown, Pearl Jam, Panic! At The Disco, Evanescence, Kehlani and- look, we could be doing this all day . . . the point is I would die (somewhat) fulfilled. Why?
Because I saw fucking Hamilton. The Hamilton. The same Hamilton that has been mentioned countless times on this blog. That has tickets going for $2k in the US. That is ground-breaking and- okay, let’s get out of italics now.
Hello, beautiful souls – today I’m going to be sharing with you the highlight of my entire existence. Oh, you think I’m joking? Well:
My life is just not that interesting or worthwhile (sorry, usually I’d let the self-deprecating humour lie, but I’ve seen Guns’N’Roses live, experienced Lisbon and I might be seeing Pearl Jam and Shinedown is summer, so I can’t even joke that life is not worthwhile).
B. You clearly have not experienced the brilliance that is Hamilton and C?
C. Watching Hamilton is proof that dreams come true . . . and that my mother is obnoxiously lucky.
Hamilton is a ground-breaking, record smashing theatre production (or, you could say, phenomenon) of unprecedented worldwide success. Written by Lin Manuel Miranda, the story follows one of America’s founding fathers Alexander Hamilton – and is performed almost entirely through hip-hop and rap music. And, just going to throw this in there, it holds the record for the most Tony nominations. Ever.
Here. Have video proof.
In America, Hamilton is consistently sold-out, the ticket prices are sky-high to the point that even as a dedicated theatre lover, Lin Manuel Miranda lover and a soundtrack lover when we were in New York we just genuinely could not part with that kind of money to watch it . . . however, as Hamilton has quite literally taken the world by storm, it has come to the West End!
Now, to avoid the exact same ticket-reselling-at-ridiculous-prices issue the US had, the Victoria Theatre (where it’s being shown) are being strict as hell with the tickets. There is no resale, so you will only pay face value (which is really fairly priced) – but you need to bring the email confirmation, the card of booking and ID (for the ticket buyer) to get in. Plus, as there’s no resale and the tickets are cheap and Hamilton has a worldwide dedicated fanbase . . . you’re looking at completely sold out shows. Until the end of its run.
So, while I desperately wanted to go, I had not a hope in hell.
Cue Christmas Day.
I’m sitting there, opening my presents all happily, when my mum suddenly gets really excited and says:
“Look, can you hurry up and open this card please?”
What was in the card?
My mother somehow managed to land bloody tickets! And – get this – the woman didn’t even pay through the nose for them. She was trying to find some to buy online, got bored and called the ticket office to just ask them . . . and was given two tickets for £54 each.
For tickets to Hamilton. In the month of January (she bought them late December) which is/was completely sold out. And then we get there, expecting to have somewhat rubbish seats that we will still love and adore because – again – we’re watching Hamilton . . . and we have box seats.
Look how close to the stage we were!
Again . . . while I may be benefitting from it here (and, oh sweet Jesus, was I), I can admit my mother is obnoxiously lucky. Anyways, that’s the story of what Hamilton is and how I ended up watching it; let’s get into what the show itself is like.
My review? 5/5*s.
It was everything I was expecting and more.
Honestly, I won’t lie, I was setting myself slightly up for disappointment; I just felt like maybe some things could get lost in translation. Hamilton is obviously all about American History, so American audiences would have had more understanding of it. Plus, I was a bit worried about the humour of it, if that makes sense. The show has a lot of humour (which I loved) but I was worried that some of it may have been cultural?
Like cheeky monkeys – remember that H&M advert? To a lot of British people, we saw it as “yeah . . . a kid wearing a jumper with a common nickname for a kid on it” whereas other people saw it more offensively. Cultural context is important with humour.
First of all: not being American and not having that historical knowledge is not a problem. As long as you pay attention to the lyrics you’re absolutely fine. Everything is explained – well! – and the story is easy to follow.
That being said, you may want to just brush up on the rough storyline. This is just because the performances are so damn good that you’ll end up being kind of dazzled. Taking in the information as well as watching the dancers as well as watching the acting as well as being like “holy shit, they hit that note?” and “damn, the sass” and “the string instruments are really winning here”. . . do you even remember the beginning of that sentence? So imagine how hard it is to keep track of who everyone is, what they’re saying and what it means.
Even if you don’t capture every exact word, the storyline is very easy to follow – and it’s damn inspiring.
Look, I know that to be on a stage you have to be amazing, you have to be talented . . . but every time I go to the theatre I’m pretty blown away by how good the performers are.
@HamiltonWestEnd is A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Just simply amazing.
— misanthropic.💀 (@crystalsndcurls) January 18, 2018
Not only did Hamilton follow that trend, it raised the bar. I’d put my enjoyment of the main characters and their performance up there with Elder Cunningham from The Book Of Mormon and the gay mormons (and The Book Of Mormon was written by the guys that wrote South Park and it’s full of inappropriate humour, so that’s the highest possible compliment.).
Every one of the cast is not only a talented actor, but the vocal talent.
Dear sweet jesus, the vocal talent. The Schuyler sisters? Amazing. All of their voices were absolutely stunning. Burr? Wonderful. Lafayette? Hilarious and charismatic as hell. Hamilton? Couldn’t have been better. After kind of mentalling placing Lin Manuel Miranda as Hamilton, I was preparing myself to be like “yep, nothing will be able to match up” and I am pleased to report I was wrong. The actor did more than justice to the role. Plus, I have to say, King George was brilliant. Everyone else – quite literally everyone, to the dancers – was also on-point and brilliant . . . but this paragraph is long enough as is.
Honestly, I don’t quite know what to say. The performance was shockingly good and, even already being aware of some of the music and the premise, I was completely caught off-guard by just how unique and artistic the show is. I cannot recommend Hamilton enough and, if you can grab tickets, make sure you do.
Lyrics & Music
The concluding part of this review is going to be about something not specific to the West End cast and performance, but the show as a whole. First of all, the show moves at a brilliant pace; you won’t be sitting there bored at all and, at times, you may actually want it to go slower so you can savour it a little more.
The writing is witty, funny and lyrically brilliant. Not just that – it’s current. There are iconic, quoteable moments from the well known “immigrants; we get the job done” to the downright political “(in a song about an election) He seems approachable? Like you could grab a beer with him” and “Jefferson or Burr, we know it’s lose-lose, but if you had to choose” . . . remind you of anything?
As well as that, the actual music itself is just brilliant. I love the way melodies, lyrics, instrumentals are tweaked and repeated throughout the whole show. The Hamilton soundtrack is now solidly on my to-buy vinyl list.
As Hamilton is a theatre show I don’t have any photos or videos to share with you, so I think this is a good place to end this post. Have any of you guys heard of Hamilton? Anyone seen it? Would you watch it? Let me know your thoughts down below!