Hamilton Hype: Is it worth it? Here’s what I thought after being in the room where it happens…

Firstly, I’m going to give you a little bit of background on my experience with Hamilton because I had just been discovering my love of Theatre as this show came to prominence and at first I wasn’t overly sold on the idea. A musical on American History set to rap music? With 46 songs on the cast recording? It was slightly daunting, but I slowly began working my way through the album to see what all the fuss was about, and I quickly fell in love. The story the songs were telling were so powerful, and creatively the music has so many levels. I was in awe of Lin Manuel Miranda’s genius mind, and wishing it to cross the pond.

Once I found out it was coming to London, I signed up to the fan pre-sale in mid-2016, determined to go as early on in the run as I could. I bagged tickets in January 2017 to the 5th preview for 10 months later, however due to unfortunate circumstances of the theatre not being renovated in time, the first 16 performances got pushed back. I was beyond gutted, and it was made even worse when I got moved to a performance over two months later than I had originally booked for! However, as the lyrics go, I was willing to wait for it… and the wait was worth it.

If you aren’t familiar with the story – Hamilton is the story of America’s founding father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War, and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. It tells of his life and legacy. If I’m totally honest, History isn’t really my subject and despite my best efforts there are still elements of the story that confuse me; but this isn’t really the shows fault as everything you need to know is in the lyrics. Its more the fact I just can’t quite wrap my own mind around the history!

However, what I believe makes this show special is its ability to in spite of this, never once allow the audience to feel alienated from the story because a lot of the love for the show comes from the characters and the way the story is told. You find yourself fully immersed into this period of history, and constantly anticipating what happens next and hanging onto every word. I can’t quite explain it, but it truly is so clever.

The cast themselves are mind-blowingly talented. I will admit that initially it took me a few scenes to fully appreciate them, because after solely listening to the Broadway Cast Recording for two years I had become very accustomed to the way they played it, but once I let go of the comparison and got into the swing of the show, I was hugely inspired, I really don’t think there was a weak-link. And despite obsessing over the score, I had actually steered relatively clear from footage of the show so it was glorious to discover how essentially this show is also heavily driven by the ensemble. I would guess that for 80% of the show the full cast are on the stage; and that felt like something quite rare and I loved it even more for it.

In terms of technical aspects, in set, costume, etc; I would argue that it is on parr with the likes of Les Miserables for being a true visual spectacle. It was just mesmerising.

Due to my prior knowledge of the show, I had anticipated that I would shed a tear, however I didn’t quite prepare myself for just how many tears I would shed, and it’s probably fair to say that by the finale I was almost in a pool of my tears. The messages it leaves you with and the lyrics are just piercingly powerful, I don’t know how you couldn’t be caught up in emotion.

Overall, I was practically speechless by the end. It was honestly one of the most powerful, moving and creative piece of theatre I have had the pleasure of seeing. I know I wasn’t alone in my feelings either, as the noise that came from the audience after every song was one of the loudest I’d ever witnessed in a theatre and in fact cheers even began the minute the lights went down as the show began. I heard sniffles of emotion throughout, and there were probably about 50 other eager fans waiting at stage door to show love and gratitude to the cast. The Hamilton hype is definitely real, and much deserved.