The theatre-show for everyone, Hamilton has finally hit Melbourne

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The theatre-show for everyone, Hamilton has finally hit Melbourne

Hamilton trio in Melbourne. Credit: Sam Bisso
Words by Chloe Waddell

Hamilton is a wonderful and poignant demonstration of how every individual can be simultaneously the hero and the villain in anyone’s story.

At first glance of the synopsis, a musical focussed on one of America’s Founding Fathers may seem to be a production designed for an impressively niche audience. However, Hamilton is a revolutionary theatre production that is near guaranteed to engage those from all walks of life, whether they be traditional musical fans or not. After a successful run in Sydney, Hamilton has hit Her Majesty’s Theatre in Melbourne, giving Victorians the chance to be part of the revolution.

Created by Lin-Manuel Miranda and directed by Thomas Kail, Hamilton the Musical mixes genres and pushes the boundaries of traditional musical theatre. Over the two hours and fifty minutes (including interval), worlds collide between Broadway, hip hop, jazz, R&B, history and rap, and all culminates in a truly engaging and awe-inspiring experience.

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If you haven’t yet heard of the story behind Hamilton, the production is set in New York in the late 1700’s, focusing on the life and career of Alexander Hamilton. Set in a time of revolution, the storyline is dynamic and fast paced, without a single dull moment. Those knowing little about American history (don’t worry, same here!) need not fear, as the characters help guide you along without disrupting the musical’s flow. 

Jason Arrow brings Alexander Hamilton’s character to life, making you forget that you’re sitting among a thousand other people. Often singing and rapping at 100 miles an hour, Arrow never misses a beat, sustaining crystal clear enunciation at all times. Arrow’s character is pitted against Aaron Burr, a character embodied by Lyndon Watts who is a striking and memorable performer. Watts and Arrow’s stage presence is amplified by their ability to engage the audience, and add sass, attitude and tone while rapping about American politics.

Hamilton is a wonderful and poignant demonstration of how every individual can be simultaneously the hero and the villain in anyone’s story.

The audience are also led by strong female characters Eliza Hamilton (Tigist Strode) and Angelica Schuyler (Akina Edmonds), and it is refreshing to have such a powerful and diverse cast. Each person in the cast is a strong talent, making the all-together-moments chilling.

Brent Ashley Hill takes to the stage as King George III, bringing an unexpected splash of humour and flamboyance, and keeping audiences cackling. In fact, humour is sprinkled right throughout the musical, which is one of its endearing qualities. How the team manage to take the setting of a cabinet meeting, and turn it into a funny and mic-drop-worthy rap battle, is testament to them.

Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography is meticulous, with every movement intentional and adding to the unfolding story. The cast take Blankenbuehler’s genius and bring it to life with high skill and seamless transitions through dance genres. Hamilton’s ensemble are an integral part of this production, providing a powerful backbone through both song and dance. The voices of the entire cast are spectacular, and when they join together to sing it is the sort of moment that raises the hair on the back of your neck and your arms. The stage itself was as dynamic as the story, with portions of the stage physically turning at times throughout, only adding to Hamilton’s impact.

The props and costuming is refreshingly limited and highly effective. From the moment a prop is brought onto the stage, it becomes part of the production. There are no clunky prop changes, and rather their movement is often so seamlessly choreographed that it was mesmerising to watch. The lighting is perfectly cued to draw attention to all the right things, and the powerful sound is high quality. This production is an absolute credit to the 36-member company at the Michael Cassel Group. 

Hamilton is now playing at Her Majesty’s Theatre. Tickets for the Melbourne season of Hamilton are on sale now here