Hamilton opens in London to five-star reviews

From BBC - December 22, 2017

After a year of expectation and a two-week delay, hip-hop musical Hamilton has finally opened in London to five-star reviews and a standing ovation.

A star-studded audience took to its feet to welcome creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as he came on stage at the end of the show to thank its cast and crew.

Yet fans hoping to see him appear in the West End will have to wait for it.

Speaking before the show, Miranda said he would not consider playing Hamilton in London until 2019 at the earliest.

"I am not done with this role by any stretch, and of course it's a dream of mine to act in the West End at some point," he told reporters.

"I hope those dreams converge, but it wo not be in 2018."

Miranda played the title role when Hamilton - which he also wrote - opened off-Broadway in 2015.

It went on to become a huge Broadway hit, winning 11 Tony awards and the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Set during and after America's War of Independence, the show uses rap, hip-hop and a multi-racial cast to recreate the life of the new nation's first treasury secretary.

The dense, all-singing/rapping musical - which runs for almost three hours - also explores his political rivalry with Aaron Burr, America's third vice-president.

Alexander Hamilton is played in London by Jamael Westman, a 25-year-old Rada graduate with only two other stage credits to his name.

In her five-star review in The Times, Ann Treneman admits Westman was "a risky casting" but calls his performance "sensational".

The Guardian's critic applauds the "immense authority" he gives the role, while the Evening Standard's reviewer calls him a "magnetic newcomer".

'Every inch the classic'

Henry Hitchings also salutes the "cool shrewdness" that British actor Giles Terera projects as Burr, the "Salieri to Westman's Mozart".

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Dominic Cavendish says the show "really is as good as we have been told".

Variety's Matt Trueman concurs, saying the musical "lands on the London stage looking every inch the classic".


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