REVIEW - City buzzing as 'glorious feast' Hamilton makes the transition from Broadway to Birmingham's Hippodrome - The Rugby Observer

REVIEW - City buzzing as 'glorious feast' Hamilton makes the transition from Broadway to Birmingham's Hippodrome

Rugby Editorial 30th Jun, 2024   0

THE LONG-awaited tour version of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s legendary musical ‘Hamilton’ hit Birmingham – on the streets surrounding the Hippodrome the pre-show buzz of anticipation was quite extraordinary.

The audience added to the atmosphere by truly making it posh frock time.

Amongst the flouncy summer pastels there were high society plantation ballgowns, founding-father frock coats and neckties could be spotted as the second city’s Chinatown went Colonial.

Picture by Danny Kaan. s

Miranda wrote the music, lyrics and book inspired by Ron Chernow’s biography of Alexander Hamilton over seven years from 2008 to 2015. His unique story telling is done through a musical kaleidoscope merging rhythm and blues, soul and pop music with hip-hop, rap and the odd conventional show tune. It’s a mish-mash that shouldn’t work, but Hamilton became an instant hit when it launched off Broadway at the Public Theatre with Miranda playing the title role himself.

It is also unique in casting non-white actors as the Founding Fathers and other major historical figures of the United States – Miranda cleverly describes this decision as ‘America then as told by America now!’

I confess to knowing very little of this period of American history which is told in two fairly lengthy acts. The story covers Hamilton’s involvement in the American Civil War as aide-de-camp to George Washington, his marriage to Elizabeth Hamilton, his legal career and his lifelong feud with rival lawyer Aaron Burr, which culminates in his death by duelling.

Shaq Taylor takes the role of Alexander Hamilton by storm from the get-go.

Picture by Danny Kaan. s

He is angry, argumentative and charismatic, displaying all three aspects in the opening number ‘Alexander Hamilton’ and followed up with the powerhouse that is ‘My Shot’.

His nemesis Aaron Burr is an equally powerful performance from Sam Oladeinde, needling and taunting Hamilton at every opportunity Daniel Boys is in fine scene-stealing form as King George (hey-ho one day maybe someone will write a musical with a British monarch as a good guy) he smarms so much that he charms and gets the catchiest number to sing

with ‘You’ll be Back’.

There are a myriad of slick performances and boundless energy from a company that ticks all the performance boxes.

The simple setting by David Korins, Choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler and Direction by Thomas Kail are all spot on.

There was so much to take in on first viewing that I admit to being confused as to where we were in the plot at times. I’ll definitely he having a second visit to fill in the gaps.

Picture by Danny Kaan. s

To be fair and I mean this as a compliment, like watching Shakespeare it took a while to tune is to the language. Here of course the language is a glorious feast of musical mixing bringing freshness to a genre where I thought I’d seen everything.

Hamilton runs at the Birmingham Hippodrome until August 31. Click here for times, tickets and more information.


Review by Euan Rose

Euan Rose Reviews


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