If you thought that a hip-hop musical about the founding fathers was not something missing from your life, well, you’d be wrong. Alexander Hamilton is not a well-known figure in the UK, but this musical based on his life (and the remarkable number of achievements he managed to fit in 49 years) is bound to change this.
The musical opened in London in December, after its roaring success on Broadway, where it’s been performed since 2015. Sadly though, as with all good London activities, tickets went on sale in January 2017, only to sell out instantly.
It’s easy to see why the show has been so successful. The 3 hours of non-stop rapping and singing takes us through Alexander Hamilton’s ascent from an unhappy childhood on a poor Caribbean island, to his key role in the American war of independence as George Washington’s right hand man, to his many achievements as part of the first government of a young US nation.
I was a little worried about the combination of hip-hop and 18th century characters, but I never questioned it past the opening lines- somehow, it works very well. The colour-conscious acting adds a further dimension in reminding us that the US, at its very beginnings, was a nation built by immigrants. As two of the main characters proclaim ‘Immigrants – we get the job done!’ followed by a high-five, it is also a much-needed rallying cry in an era where immigrants are finding it difficult to find their place in American society.
The show also happens to be very funny. I feel compelled to mention one character in particular – George III is presented as a pompous man-child in a bedazzled costume who sings Britpop break-up songs to the Americans and enjoys watching them argue amongst themselves. You will come out of this show singing, rapping, and looking up the fascinating lives of Hamilton & friends on Wikipedia.
Tickets are hard to come by, but if you are feeling lucky, there is a lottery for £10 tickets available two days before performances on http://hamiltonmusical.com/lottery/ . Good luck!