Danny Kaan

Review: Hamilton, Bristol Hippodrome - 'A stunning musical that lives up to the American legacy'

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The musical tells the story of American founding father Alexander Hamilton through a blend of hip-hop, jazz, R&B and Broadway

Hamilton is a revolutionary musical phenomenon by Lin-Manuel Miranda, which world premiered in New York in 2015 and earned multiple awards, including Best Musical and the 2016 Pulitzer Prize for Drama.

Having watched the Disney filmed version of the Broadway musical various times, I could simply not “throw away my shot” when they announced the UK tour would be making a stop at the Bristol Hippodrome.

We were lucky to be in “the room where it happens” as the Hamilton UK touring cast blew the crowd away with a stellar performance that lived up to the musical’s legacy and earned them a much-deserved standing ovation from the crowd by the end of the show.

The ensemble brought the stage to life as locations smoothly transitioned as they became soldiers, sailors, guests at a ball and even a tidal wave of change as they passed an important letter from Washington (Charles Simmons) to Hamilton (Shaq Taylor).

Despite the songs transitioning from one to the next without much pause, the set flowed smoothly, with props seamlessly added and removed from the stage.

Shaq Taylor's role as the protagonist and revolutionary character, Alexander Hamilton, felt a bit flat in some of the songs in Act 1. Some of the songs felt like they lacked emotion until the latter half of the song.

However, this changed after That Would Be Enough (the fifth last song in Act 1). Following this point, his singing felt more confident and packed with emotion, including during the sweet and heart-warming duet with Sam Olandeine at Dear Theodosia.

Sam Oladeinde portrayed an amazing and smooth character development as Aaron Burr, who starts as a cautious and diplomatic presence who prioritises a neutral stance and transitions into taking action and being in the spotlight after he decides he wants to be in "the room where it happens”.

There was great chemistry between Hamilton, Marquis de Lafayette (Billy Nevers), John Laurens (DeAngelo Jones) and Hercules Mulligan (KM Drew Boateng), who had a playful dynamic, came across as long-time friends and encouraged Hamilton to act against the status quo.

Daniel Boys won over the audience from the moment he stepped on stage as King George. With only his presence, shining crown and echoing voice, the smiles and chuckles were endless despite the threatening lyrics.

The Schuyler sisters' sisterly bond shines throughout the musical, particularly in Angelica Schuyler's (Aisha Jawando) melancholic voice in Satisfied, where she whispers her true emotions so that her beloved sister will not be hurt, and in her emotional outburst in The Reynolds Pamphlet as she talks about her sister.

One of the biggest highlights was Maya Britto's performance as Eliza Hamilton. Her voice echoed through the theatre and was laden with emotions, be it as she portrayed Eliza's personality as an optimistic and hopeless romantic to her heart-wrecked scream in Act 2, which still brings me to tears as I write this review.

The chameleonic performances by Billy Nevers, KM Drew Boateng, DeAngelo Jones and Gabriela Benedetti are worthy of much praise, they truly became whole different characters as they changed character roles through the Acts.

Nevers was able to keep the French accent as Lafayette and kept up with the high-speed raps, and as Thomas Jefferson, he portrayed a playful, sassy, showman character with a strong presence, which was complemented by Boateng's James Madison which offered a much more reserved and contained presence than his playful and strong character as Hercules Mulligan.

As Philip Hamilton, DeAngelo Jones portrayed perfectly the aging of the character from a shy, cute and innocent nine-year-old to a flirty and confident young adult in the space of only a few songs.

Gabriela Benedetti transformed from the playful and sassy nature of Peggy Schuyler in Act 1 to a seductive, reserved and desperate Maria Reynolds in Act 2.

As for Charles Simmons, who plays George Washington, he had a commanding presence on stage whose every word captivated us from Act 1. He also brilliantly played with the dynamics as he used a hushed, contained voice as he confided his worries. By Act 2, he has a serene but powerful presence as he teaches us how to "say goodbye".

Overall, it was a brilliant performance filled with many memorable moments.

Hamilton is at the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday, June 22. For tickets, visit https://www.atgtickets.com/shows/hamilton/bristol-hippodrome/

Scroll through to see some highlights of the musical.

This article contains affiliate links. We may earn a small commission on items purchased through this article, but that does not affect our editorial judgement.

We were lucky to be in “the room where it happens” as the Hamilton UK touring cast blew the crowd away with a stellar performance that lived up to the musical’s legacy and earned them a much-deserved standing ovation from the crowd by the end of the show.

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