It has finally arrived! The very famous “Hamilton” has landed on Disney +! This hip-hop musical, officially titled ‘Hamilton: An American Musical’, first premiered on Broadway at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in July 2015. One year later it was recorded with most of the original cast intact and this much anticipated recording is now available on Disney plus for your endless viewing.
The story follows the forgotten American Founding Father, Alexander Hamilton and his ascent out of poverty and into power during the American War of Independence starting in 1776.
Not knowing the story, it is true to say that it is educational to say the least. However, it also takes a great degree of concentration. This musical is completely conveyed through song and a huge percentage of it is rapped which not only takes utmost attentiveness, but it takes significant talent from the cast. Anyone who has ever sung in rap before will know the memory and articulation demands but this show is another level! Every word is so pertinent to the story but the performers have perfected this through a serious level of rehearsal and skill.
The huge score is jam-packed with complex timing; intertwining harmonies and it very much feels like a modern version of one of Andrew Lloyd-Webbers biggest pieces.
‘Hamilton’ is absolute drama from the start! You can’t tune out for a second. The set is simple which works because pretty much everything else is huge! The lyrics are genius, the songs colossal, the humour witty and the choreography is sensational. The classic costumes are sometimes accompanied by modern twists like beanie hats which is just one of the many modern hints included in this historical narrative.
Some of the slow motion scenes, gunshot moments and turning back of time are a real sensory feast with beautiful lighting, sound and action harmoniously coming together to bring you goosebumps more times than I can count.
The performers are indescribable – sometimes I really questioned whether they were ‘human’ as what they have achieved is truly extraordinary. The energy is electric and the emotion is raw throughout. It comes as no surprise that the majority of the leading cast have picked up an array of awards. You know it’s good when you can’t pick out favourites or highlights because the talent is just out of his world. All the while, the chorus are depicting a movement masterpiece that is complimentary and pertinent to the intense and dynamic atmosphere in every scene.
Hamilton is drama, laughter, love, betrayal, forgiveness, grief, conflict and victory all effortlessly portrayed in a quest to find truth and honour history. I have to admit, it is not an easy follow and being able to engage 100% throughout the full 2 hours and 40 minutes on screen is a challenge however I know this would be quite different during live theatre. I think there will be many people who watch this more than once and see more and more every time they do.
The final note must go to Lin-Manuel Miranda who not only stars in this mammoth musical but he also composed and wrote the whole thing! We all owe a big thank you to this smart man for creating such an educational, interesting and modern musical that continues to entertain surprise and challenge us. 5 stars to me always means “absolutely unmissable” and in the world of theatre, this one is certainly that.
Reviewer: Blathine Maguire
Reviewed: 3rd July 2020
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★