A reviews round-up for Hamilton, which has opened at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London.
Hamilton has opened to rave, five-star reviews at the West End’s Victoria Palace Theatre.
Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip hop musical about Founding Father Alexander Hamilton has been one of the most anticipated shows to arrive in London for years, and it seems that critics think it was worth the wait.
Read reviews from the Guardian, Times, Telegraph, Evening Standard and more.
Book tickets to Hamilton at the Victoria Palace Theatre in London
"revolutionary musical a thrilling salute to America's immigrants"
"Lin-Manuel Miranda’s rollercoaster of a show boasts outstanding performances and charts the life of the US founding father with political passion and nimble wit"
"One of the many joys of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s much-heralded musical is that it offers us history de-wigged: it’s a rollercoaster of a show in which a bare-headed, largely non-white cast capture the fervour and excitement of revolution while reminding us how much America’s identity was shaped by a buccaneering immigrant, Alexander Hamilton."
"Miranda’s music and lyrics combine two things that rarely go together: political passion and nimble wit... Miranda’s lyrics, which include references to Shakespeare and WS Gilbert, are full of verbal dexterity."
"The performances also match the variety and energy of the music. Jamael Westman, not long out of drama school, invests Hamilton with immense authority, reminding us that words were always his most effective weapon and suggests a mixture of opportunist and visionary."
"In the end, however, the power of Hamilton lies in its ability to make the past seem vividly present. It suggests its subject was an Icarus who flew too close to the sun."
""Hamilton" is "Hamilton" is "Hamilton" -- and it will blow us Brits away. Just."
"“Hamilton” is going to be just fine here in London. In the Broadway smash’s first outing beyond American soil, there’s a lot riding on the West End transfer of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s mega-hit.... But the moment you step into the newly refurbished Victoria Palace Theatre to find teenagers softly singing the show’s score to themselves pre-show, it feels like a done deal. “Hamilton” is all but sold out until July, with another batch of tickets released ahead of opening night."
"Lin-Manuel Miranda’s tumbling hip-hop score, with its elastic, somersaulting lyrics and a surfeit of showstoppers, hardly needs more superlatives heaped upon it. Reviewing it feels like sizing up the Mona Lisa or Beethoven’s Fifth and, in truth, “Hamilton” lands on the London stage looking every inch the classic."
"Believe the hype – Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical is a knockout"
"Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical makes 18th-century politics seem as explosively immediate as a rap battle, writes Henry Hitchings"
"Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical arrives in London on a giant wave of hype — acclaimed as an unmissable game-changer that’s made hip-hop part of the vocabulary of Broadway. Sceptics have wondered if its American subject matter and idiom might not survive the journey from New York. But they have. Hamilton is a knockout, and its British cast is superb, with two star-making performances from Giles Terera and, in the title role, magnetic newcomer Jamael Westman."
"Thomas Kail’s finely tuned production takes place on a single set, and there’s athletic choreography by Andy Blankenbuehler. As a result it hurtles along, the dance and movement as urgent as the vocals, yet the cast’s energy is matched by its poise."
"With its fresh take on the politics of opportunism Hamilton feels sharply topical, but it’s also the best kind of history lesson. True, there are a few dramatically expedient inaccuracies, but Miranda knows which liberties are worth taking, and he makes the past exciting. At the same time this is an extraordinarily uplifting vision of people from society’s margins becoming big-hitters. In short, believe the hype."
"A magnificent achievement"
"The most frenziedly anticipated musical in London since ‘The Book of Mormon’ lives up to the hype and is not to be missed, says Paul Taylor"
"I’m delighted to report that, for the most part, Hamilton manages to do so – quite exhilaratingly – and will disarm folk who think that a hip-hop musical about the Founding Fathers isn’t ideally placed to be a mega-hit on this side of the pond."
"The idiom takes you right into the fiery metabolism and word-drunk wit of these youthful rebels, desperate to seize and mould a nascent nation."
"Miranda originated the title role on Broadway. Here it goes to Jamael Westman who delivers a very intelligent and well-sung performance..."
"Kail’s production is not perfect. It unfolds with seamless fluency on David Korins’s handsome open-stage set, with its bare brick walls, revolve, coils of rope and other maritime paraphernalia. The ensemble, in their sexy torn-off costumes, give the show high-energy propulsion, but their movements sometimes look banal."
"These are relatively minor cavils, though, about a piece that, in the main, is obviously a magnificent achievement. Miranda’s synthesis of the historical material is phenomenal, as is his supple control of the diverse musical idioms. Two eras train light on each other here and, at its best, the show creates the impression that it is not merely dramatising Hamilton’s revolution but, in its artistic choices and spirit, is carrying it forward. Patience may be required to secure tickets, but on no account is this to be missed."
"A playful and dazzling work of art"
"Lin-Manuel Miranda’s exhilarating musical holds a mirror up to the world of the founding fathers — and also today’s"
"What’s brilliant about the show is its scintillating fusion of form and content. Miranda sticks closely to historical fact and musical tradition, but reframes and reclaims both, first by focusing on Alexander Hamilton, an impoverished, visionary immigrant; second by splicing musical theatre conventions with hip-hop, R&B and pop. It gives the show phenomenal drive, as befits a group of young men improvising a future, spinning a new country into being with their words, surfing history as they might ride a beat. But most importantly, bringing hip-hop into the mix tilts the axis. Hamilton asks not only whose story gets told and who tells that story, but what voice they choose."
"But it is also a blast: a playful and dazzling work of art, expertly delivered here by a tremendous new cast. Sungthrough, switching musical styles on a dime, spiked with intricate rhymes and layer upon layer of wordplay, it’s technically demanding. It celebrates the virtuoso skill of rap while also calling for lyricism and dramatic interpretation."
"On David Korins’s dockland warehouse set, Kail’s staging has tremendous momentum, assisted by Andy Blankenbuehler’s exuberant choreography. But what surprises most is the show’s streak of delicate lyricism. The whole piece is charged by the adrenaline of the adversarial — the testosterone-fuelled verbal battles, the multiple duels — and its recurring motifs echo the internal rhymes of rap."
"Lin-Manuel Miranda’s visionary musical lives up to the hype"
"Okay, let’s just get this out of the way. ‘Hamilton’ is stupendously good. Yes, it’s kind of a drag that there’s so much hype around it. But there was a lot of hype around penicillin. And that worked out pretty well. If anything – and I’m truly sorry to say this – Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical about Alexander Hamilton, the first secretary of the US Treasury, is actually better than the hype suggests. That’s because lost in some of the more waffly discourse around its diverse casting and sociological import is the fact that ‘Hamilton’ is, first and foremost, a ferociously enjoyable show."
"Thomas Kail’s restaged Broadway production is confident but not flashy: a series of taut, almost tableaux-like scenes with a crisp, minimal set and choreography that allows the music, words and the striking figures of the cast – largely BAME actors in period dress – to take centre-stage."
"Does it feel quite so important in London? Inevitably it still feels like an American story. But we’re a nation hooked on American stories. And it is celebratory of multiculturalism and immigration, things our city knows very well. Plus, in an age when some berks still write in angrily if a black person gets a minor role in a BBC costume drama, it is of tremendous significance that a group of relatively unknown BAME actors are in a period show that is, by a really very long way, the best and cleverest thing on the London stage."
"This musical is history in the remaking and I mean that quite literally. It arrives as if astride a runaway horse, stampeding towards us with the news that the past need no more be male, pale and stale."
"Hamilton is as good as the hype but not in the way I thought it would be. I wasn’t so much moved as riveted. This is like a rock concert where you don’t know the star. It’s a history book that has gone audio in a rather major way. The immigrants have grabbed the microphone. For more than 200 years, someone else has mostly told their story. No longer. They’re telling it loud and proud, with non-stop rap, hip-hop, R&B, bolstered with ballet, jazz dance and cartwheels. In a word, wow."
"Thomas Kail directs what is a blockbuster. I didn’t want the interval to happen and was sorry when the show ended. The energy comes from both the sweeping music and the choreography (Andy Blankenbuehler) but, mostly, from the force of the story played out on a simple two-tier wooden set by David Korins. I had wondered whether this would resonate in Britain as Hamilton is an unknown figure here. But the core message is about the power that comes from telling your story. Are you ready for this revolution? The shouts and whistles answered that question."
"Brought across the Atlantic by impresario Cameron Mackintosh to a lavishly refurbished theatre, this show doesn’t feel like the young, scrappy and hungry product that it must have seemed when it hit Broadway. Commercial polish shines, just a little, on its surface. It’s less of a revelation. The payoff, however, is a sense of utter completeness."
"Hamilton is a touchstone. It’s zeitgeist, youthquake, Momentum, it’s woke, it’s post-musical. From masculinity, power struggles and the small things on earth, it metastasises into a crying epic about legacy, principle, nations, all the incredible mongrel people within those nations, and how all those people – every single one – can change the world. Even the bastard, orphan, son of a whore, immigrant Alexander Hamilton."