The first time I heard some Hamilton songs I was on my way to a live drawing event with my friend Sean. He put it on because he thought I’d like it and it basically shut me up for a while (a mighty feat in itself!). As soon as I was home, I looked up the soundtrack on Spotify and listened to it from beginning to end. And then again. And again. Needless to say, like so many before me, I was sold. So: thanks for the initial exposure, Sean! 😉
Crossing the ocean
When I heard the show was coming to London, I knew I wanted to go. After all, a trip to London is not cheap, but it is certainly a lot more affordable than a trip to the US! After a frantic Ordering Frenzy on the day the tickets went on sale, I ended up with two tickets for the show on 20 February and did a little happy dance on my swivel chair.
And, as expected, the show did not disappoint. Of course, as someone who has listened to the soundtrack as often as I have, I sometimes had to get used to these new voices, but that usually only took a moment. The West End actors had great ways of making these iconic characters their own, while still staying true to their purpose.
I figured I’d highlight some of my personal favourite bits!
Jason Pennycooke’s gleeful Jefferson
Jason Pennycooke was truly a joy to watch on stage. His Lafayette already grabbed my attention, but I could not stop grinning during his rendition of What’d I Miss, in which he sings exuberantly and capers across the stage.
The overly attached monarch
I always thought You’ll Be Back, What Comes Next and I Know Him were funny, but seeing Michael Jibson act everything out with great comedic timing was truly entertaining. Being in London, so close to Buckingham Palace and during the current political climate, added some extra spice to certain lines as well.
Best of wives and best of women…
Rachelle Ann Go gave her Eliza both strength and fragility, and an appealing sweetness that made the cards the story deals her that much harder to swallow. Even so, I managed to control the lump in my throat right up until the end, when, at the end of Who Lives, Who Dies, Who Tells Your Story she smashed my resolve not to cry with one small gesture that insistently tugged my heart strings and would not let go. I started bawling and ended up applauding the cast with my eyeliner smeared across my face and a runny nose, after all.
Well, I could keep going of course, but I really enjoyed pretty much all of it (okay, maybe only the fact that theatre performances do not allow for random pee breaks made me a tad nervous, but that was all! 😛 ).
One of the main themes of Hamilton is the idea of building a legacy by hard work and focus, but also the blindness that sometimes comes with such a singleminded pursuit. The entire West End cast did an amazing job portraying the intensity of this theme and I enjoyed every moment of their performance.