Thursday, May 23

Hamilton – Festival Theatre, Edinburgh

The hype over Hamilton is spot on. This show tells the story of a political man, ambitious to make his mark in a time long gone and it does so with incredible spectacle, drama, humour and pathos. Currently touring the UK and Ireland, I was lucky enough to catch it at the Festival Theatre in Edinburgh.

The set is a work of art by acclaimed designer, David Korins. It enables the bold, powerful dancers to tell their story on every level. As the auditorium fills, the empty stage is beautifully lit with a rich, almost visceral palette and Howell Binkley’s lighting design lends nuance and substance to every musical note throughout the evening. Howell Binkley deserves his award for lighting this show.

The entire cast did their director, Thomas Kail, and his associates proud. It’s a word-heavy production combined with the demands of dance and this team rose to the challenge. They’re fit, they’re powerful and, like Alexander Hamilton, they’re ready to take a shot at this challenging, stunning piece of art. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s words were delivered with verve and punch. It truly is a knock-out production.

Alex Lacamoire’s music hits you in the chest. His arrangements and Nevin Steinberg’s sound design literally sweep you up. Their aural landscape is the vehicle for a dynamic cast to muscle their way into your head.

Photo: Danny Kaan

And the pièce de resistance – the choreography! Andy Blankenbuehler has created a wonderful, varied and arresting composition. There is nothing as thrilling as a stage full of dynamism and energy. The ensemble work their socks off and are amazing. The whole thing is so good that even the way Shaq Taylor (Hamilton) dons his coat is a pleasure to witness. Or maybe that’s just me.

Daniel Boys is a brilliant King George. His isolated, solo pieces contrast starkly with the busy vigour of the American revolution. He is a treat to behold.

Billy Nevers does a great job performing as the Marquis de Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. I particularly liked his Thomas Jefferson. The man is fit and expressive.

Sam Oladeinde works brilliantly alongside Shaq Taylor, creating that sense of brotherhood and rivalry that was fully believable.

The Schuyler sisters, played by Maya Britto, Aisha Jawando and Gabriella Benedetti, bring feminine texture to the political narrative. All three are accomplished performers but Britto and Jawando had more to do, and they did it with authenticity and commitment.

I must mention Samantha Shuma in the ensemble. She was incredibly watchable with a fierce expression and a powerful physique which really took up space and demanded attention.

Author, Lin-Manuel Miranda and his family are actively involved in promoting diverse ethnic representation on the stage. Hamilton fits the bill superbly. It deserves the hype and the accolades. Everything about it was a joy. I am privileged to be a reviewer.

Playing until 27th April,

Reviewer: Kathleen Mansfield

Reviewed: 5th March 2024

North West End UK Rating:

Rating: 5 out of 5.