Hamilton: Was I finally satisfied? (Ad)

Hamilton: Was I finally satisfied? (Ad)

I’d watched every interview I could, binge listened to the soundtrack since May, and finally the day came. On Saturday 5th January I finally saw Hamilton on the West end.

Though this was not a complimentary ticket (Like the majority of my theatre reviews), this post is, however, sponsored by the lovely people at Encore tickets! I worked on a post with them back in October and really enjoyed it, so given the opportunity again I was very down to share more of my theatre love, and review the upcoming trip I was taking to see Hamilton.

You can use Encore Tickets to find cheap theatre deals, so you can watch and sing to your hearts content. As a relatively broke Uni student with a lowkey addiction to musical theatre, it is unbelievably useful, so working with them was ideal. Some tickets that particularly jumped out to me were these cheap ones to Joseph and the Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat and Company… I’ll most likely be coming back and purchasing both of those in the next couple of months (But not right now because I have 6 more shows lined up until April and I need to stop…)

(Update: I lied about not purchasing more tickets for while… I bought Company tickets like a week after I started writing this post, oops)

What is Hamilton?

Granted, a rap musical about the first Secretary of the Treasury of the United States does not sound interesting at all. In fact, that was the reason it took me so long to listen to the soundtrack… I really thought I wouldn’t like it. However, it is far more than that.

It follows the story of Alexander Hamilton and the founding fathers. Though I’m not one for a play about history (It’s one of the main reasons I hate Les Mis), it actually does a great job towing the line between informative and modern. In fact, I would go as far as to say that the musical score of Hamilton is one of the most modern out there, depite the historical plot. Almost the entire thing is sang and there is very little text, yet it doesn’t feel dreary and you’re not sat there waiting for them to stop singing. There are rap battles, R&B vocals, lies, sadness and deceit, and it’s genius.

What did I think?

Obviously, as I’ve explained, I had a lot of build up when it came to Hamilton. I had massive expectations and I was incrediby worried that the British cast wouldn’t live up to/would sound far too different from the original Broadway cast that I’m so used to listen to. Oh how wrong I was.

It was absolutely fantastic. Obviously, this cast are a completely different cast to the original Broadway cast, but I have to admit that they really held their own. They managed to approach things in their own way whilst still sticking to the original material, and it was great to see the performance materialise. Honestly, I could talk about this performance until I’m blue in the face, because there’s so much to say. However, you don’t have all day and neither do I, so I’ll try and cut it down to the main points…

The Cast

Like I said, the cast was what I was most worried about. But they did a great job, especially considering how demanding some of those roles were to sing live. However, there definitely were some standouts for me…

Hercules Mulligan – Tarinn Callender

I know that he also plays Madison – and his performance of Madison was incredibly solid – but I specifically listed him as Hercules above, because that is where he stole the show. I’d say that Hercules probably has the smaller role of the 4 friends, but Callender was one of the best to watch in their group scenes. From the beginning he radiated so much energy and charisma that he was kind of hard to take your eyes off of. He was the sort of actor that made you want to get up there and dance with him, which is exactly what you want with a show like this. Tarinn Callender did such a fantastic job with the character and I hope he’s there when I see it again in March (Yes, I’d already booked in to see it again. I’m one of those people.)

Alexander Hamilton – Ash Hunter

If you’ve listened to Lin Manuel Miranda, you’ll know that he has a pretty specific twang to his voice. I knew that obviously wasn’t going to be there, but I was worried what the role would be without it. However, I really enjoyed Hunter’s take on the role. His performance in the first half was solid and his voice was great, but he really won me over in the second act. At times, his Hamilton was far more serious and calculated than Lin’s; it’s like he was more than just a talented, cocky guy… he was someone who knew how to play the game. This added an edge to his character, and made his fued with Burr far more believable on his side.

Lafayette/Jefferson – Jason Pennycooke

Lafayette is my favourite character in Hamilton, and Daveed Diggs (the OG Lafayette) has a special place in my heart. Therefore, this was the one I was particularly unsure about, because I find it hard to separate Diggs and the character. However, on browsing the program when I got to the theatre, I found out that Jason Pennycooke was playing Lafayette! I saw him as Bobby Dupree in Memphis for my 18th birthday and he was hands down my favourite performer in that, so that gave me some extra excitement on my way in.

He definitely lived up to my expectations! His Lafayette was entertaining and he kept up with the rap (not as well as Diggs, but then again I haven’t seen him do it live), but he exceeded my expectations with Jefferson. I’m pretty indifferent about Jefferson as a character, but Pennycooke made me love him. He had such charisma and brought a new level of whimsy to the role that I wouldn’t say was there before. He danced, he joked and he brought the audience many laughs. I could not wait for Jefferson to come back whenever he left the stage, and that was all because of Pennycooke.

Special mentions

I could keep going on about this cast but this post would be longer than it already plans to be. However, some additional special mentions go to:

  • Courtney-Mae Briggs as Peggy/Maria: She had an absolutely phenomenal voice. I was hoping she’d do my favourite song (Say No to This) justice, but she did a whole lot more than that – she absolutely smashed it. Her whole performance was captivating.
  • Dom Hartley-Harris as Washington: I won’t lie, he was initially only going to be on this list because he was incredibly good looking. Then he started singing and unleashed his velvety smooth voice… Now he’s on here because he was perfect in every way. I didn’t want to say goodbye to him.
  • Jon Robyns as King George: I feel like King George’s songs are very marmite because they’re so repetitive. I personally love them, and thought that Robyns absolutely nailed the comedic timing, as well as having a pretty great voice.

The Staging

Though I’ve listened to the soundtrack non-stop (hehe) for over 6 months, this is the first time I saw the staging, and I thought it was absolutely brilliant. The set itself was fairy minimilistic – decked out in moveable wooden scaffolding. The various changes of scenery were created through props and larger items, moved on and off of the stage by the ensemble cast – who were absolutely brilliant – right in front of our eyes.

The choreography was beautifully abstract and worked brilliantly in setting the scene and telling the story. This was aided massively by the rotating parts of the stage, which really helped create a modern and somewhat controlled-yet-hectic atmosphere. It was all genius, it all told a story, and I could see myself analysing it in a GCSE drama class.

The Soundtrack

It’s safe to say that I’ve been more than a little obsessed with the Hamilton soundtrack for a while. In fact, it made up the entire top 10 of my most listened songs of 2018 on Spotify. I am such a musical nerd, especially when it comes to the structure and composition of a soundtrack, and Lin Manuel Miranda is a musical genius. I could write a whole dissertation on the composition of Hamilton, and honestly, if I could find a way to work that into Philosophy or English I probably would.

If you’re listening to it for the first time, I would recommend listening to the whole thing from start to finish, because so many songs flow directly into others, and it’s musically beautiful. However, if you don’t have 2.5 hours to spare, have a listen to:

  • Alexander Hamilton
  • Say No to This
  • Schuyler Sisters
  • Guns and Ships
  • The Room Where it Happened
  • Yorktown (The World Turned Upside Down)

Because they’ll give you a real flair for the production (And also happen to be some of my favourites).

My favourite thing

One of the things that really attracted me to Hamilton was the multi-ethnicity of the cast. As a black girl, I watched a lot of theatre productions where there was no one like me – especially as musical theatre is so franchised and so they work on replicating the same aesthetic. Obviously, there are musicals like Hairspray and Memphis that heavily feature a black cast, but both also heavily revolve the topic of race (Although, race is very important, and they both make my list of top 10 musicals). However, what I like about Hamilton is that it’s so highly ethnically diverse for no reason whatsoever (Which, in my opinion, is the best reason).

We’re all aware that in this time period, all of these people would have been white… It was America in the 1700’s and we’ve seen pictures of the founding fathers. the producers of Hamilton know that we know this, and they know that we’re smart enough to know that they aren’t playing the characters 100% true to life. So, they cast whoever fits the role best, regardless of ethnicity. And what does that leave you with? An absolutely amazing and diverse cast, who really kick butt.

Final Statement

Go see it. Check the website for availability, and go see it.

Final tip

Bring tissues. It gets real sad in the second act and it’s very likely you’ll cry, or at least feel a whole tonne of goosebumps like I did.

Thank you for reading through my chunky Hamilton review! Honestly, this was the shortest I could make it, because this show was everything to me. Thank you once again to Encore Tickets for sponsoring this post, don’t forget to check out their website for cheap ticket deals!

Have you seen Hamilton? Do you want to? Let me know in the comments!

Lots of love,

Jas xx

TWITTER  |  INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK | YOUTUBE | RADIO

This is a sponsored post, which means that I received monetary compensation in exchange for this post.  However, this does not affect the integrity of my review in any way.  If you would like to read more about my work with brands, you can do so here.

Follow:
Share:

26 Comments

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 10, 2019 / 10:49 am

      You should definitely see it if you get the chance!

      Jas xx

  1. January 10, 2019 / 1:47 pm

    I keep telling everyone I want to go and see Hamilton, it really appeals to me (I was kind of fingers-crossing I’d get some tickets for Christmas, but no). I’m so pleased to hear you feel it lived up to the hype – makes me want to see it even more now!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 10, 2019 / 8:54 pm

      Awwww I hope that you get to see it at some point!

      Jas xx

  2. January 10, 2019 / 8:49 pm

    Omg, how did I not twig it was a rap musical?! I kinda wanna see it more now! I heard all the hype, but not that part, haha! Glad you enjoyed 🙂

    Rhianna x
    http://www.tsundokugirl.com

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 10, 2019 / 8:52 pm

      You definitely should see it if you have the chance!

      Jas xx

  3. January 10, 2019 / 9:11 pm

    I’ve got tickets to see thins in feb! I can’t wait. Glad you enjoyed it

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 10, 2019 / 10:32 pm

      Ahhhh I hope you enjoy it!

      Jas xx

  4. January 10, 2019 / 10:15 pm

    I’m not that into musical theatre but I love reading your reviews because you can always tell how genuinely excited you are. As I don’t live under a rock, I have heard a lot about Hamilton although I’m still unaware of specific plot details. I think it’s amazing that there’s so much diversity in a cast not racially focused. And I’m very happy for you that they didn’t disappoint compared to the Broadway soundtrack. But seriously, slow down with the tickets x

    Sophie
    http://www.glowsteady.co.uk

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 10, 2019 / 10:33 pm

      Awwww I’m glad that my excitement comes through, because I really was so excited! Hahaha I’ve stopped buying tickets… for now

      Jas xx

  5. January 11, 2019 / 12:25 am

    I actually saw Hamilton in London after knowing I was going on holiday there and it was nearly impossible to get tickets to the performance here in Los Angeles. I absolutely loved it and the London cast was just divine.

    Glad you enjoyed it! x

    Michelle
    dressingwithstyle-s.com

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 11, 2019 / 9:19 pm

      Thank you! It was so good wasn’t it?!

      Jas xx

  6. January 11, 2019 / 8:11 pm

    I haven’t seen Hamilton but I have heard so much about it! Everybody is loving it! I really need to go see it!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 11, 2019 / 9:20 pm

      You should definitely go see it!

      Jas xx

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 11, 2019 / 9:20 pm

      You should definitely see it if you have the chance!

      Jas xx

  7. January 11, 2019 / 8:18 pm

    I’ve heard sooo much about Hamilton but I never knew what it was actually about? I just knew that the cast were diverse and the songs were popular but after seeing how much you enjoyed your experience, it really makes me want to watch it! Your enthusiasm is honestly so enjoyable to read and I like that it really comes across, you have such a brilliant way of writing. Thanks for sharing!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 11, 2019 / 11:00 pm

      Awww I’m so glad that my enthusiasm comes across, that really means a lot to me! Honestly this whole comment is so sweet <3

      Jas xx

  8. January 11, 2019 / 8:26 pm

    Honestly, I’ve never heard of Hamilton before as I’m not a huge musical theatre fan. However, this sounds amazing! I need to check it out!!

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 11, 2019 / 11:00 pm

      It was so good!

      Jas xx

  9. January 11, 2019 / 8:55 pm

    it’s probably bad that I have never heard of this musical before. I’ve only ever seen two myself but both of those I loved. The thing that normally puts me off going is the price of tickets, like you don’t want to be right at the back on a cheap ticket, you want to be able to see those on the stage. I’ll have to have a look at encore tickets x

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 11, 2019 / 11:06 pm

      Yeah, you should definitely check out encore tickets!

      Jas xx

  10. Michelle Blackadar
    January 11, 2019 / 9:25 pm

    oh the little pain i felt in my heart when you said you don’t like Les Mis, i disgress. I haven’t seen Hamilton but it seems to be all the rage! I don’t usually got to many musical theater shows which now that i think about it very odd because i love musical theater! i’ll have to check if this is playing in my city anytime soon or if it’s going back to broadway since i’m not too far from there! great post jas xx

    mich / simplymich.com

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 11, 2019 / 11:13 pm

      Hahaha I’m sorry about the Les Mis comment – people are always shocked when I say that I’m not a fan (Tbf, I’ve only seen the film, but that put me off seeing the theatre production). You should definitely see if it’s showing near you!

      Jas xx

  11. January 11, 2019 / 10:01 pm

    This sounds absolutely amazing and I’m so pleased it was good as the build up to it! – It’s been so long since I’ve been the theatre but you’ve made me want to go again now!

    Alys / withlovealys.com

    • thoughtsfromjasmine
      Author
      January 11, 2019 / 11:13 pm

      You should definitely go to the theatre asap!

      Jas xx

Tell me what you think