Tuesday, March 20News For London

The Room Where It Happened: Hamilton West End previews

Hamilton’s West End production opens on December 21st after previews which started on the 6th.

(photo tweeted by Hamilton official twitter)

There was an excited hum from the audience as we waited for the show to begin. Many flashes from phone cameras as they documented the night. The lights dimmed and an expectant silence fell over the theatre. The dramatic first bar of the musical began, and the title song which ushered in the show actualised what for many audience members was just a soundtrack.

If you’ve listened to the soundtrack and are attached to the original cast, Aaron Burr, the first voice you hear when the show begins, might throw you off. Giles Terera is definitely no Leslie Odim Jr but by the end of Act One, he will win you over. The sincerity in his voice during his duet with Jamael Westman (Alexander Hamilton), “Dear Theodosia” really brought the character to life.

Tarinn Callender who plays Hercules Mulligan/James Madison shines in his professional debut with his soulful baritone. As for the rest of the male leads, (Cleve September as John Laurens/Philip Hamilton and Jason Pennycooke as Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson), each of them are charismatic and have brilliant comedic timing. Obioma Ugoala who looks quite young manages to more than make up for it with his authoritative posture and voice in his role as George Washington. King George’s quirky and stereotypically posh character is excellently executed by Michael Jibson. Each time he came on to the stage, he had the crowd in stitches.

The leading ladies who are introduced in “Schuyler Sisters”, greet spectators with their euphonious harmonies. Rachelle Ann Go’s (Eliza Schuyler Hamilton) smooth as butter vocals, Christine Allado (Peggy Schuyler/Maria Reynolds) with her mellifluous voice and Rachel John’s powerful voice as Angelica Schuyler.

Jamael does a more than serviceable job as the title role. Not once will you long for Lin-Manuel Miranda to come on stage. The chemistry he has with the rest of the cast truly makes the show incredibly enjoyable.

The well-executed staging and choreography deserve honourable mentions as both were clever and intricate. However, there were definitely some technical issues that need to be ironed out before the end of the previews. They did not take away from the show but they were immediately noticeable.

The final scenes culminating in the closing number “Who Live, Who Dies, Wo Tells Your Story”, invoked tears in several people. There was sniffing all around and several emotional people were still wiping their tears during curtain call. Through tears and cheers, the audience gave a standing ovation.

All together the show was an experience that I encourage others have. All though the first few months are already sold out.