I went and saw Hamilton at the Sydney Lyric Theatre with one big question on my mind, will this be as good as everyone says?
As soon as lockdown was lifted in Sydney, I booked tickets to see Hamilton. I had never seen it before, not even the filmed stage version available on Disney +, so I was curious if it would live up to all the hype surrounding it. Because how often do things actually live up to the hype?
Well… it did not disappoint! Hamilton was amazing just like everyone has been saying!
However, I went with a friend and co-worker, Casey, who had seen the Disney + version. She had some differing opinions on Sydney’s version of Hamilton.
Casey’s biggest criticism was aimed at the actors. She felt that the emotion was not there in the same way that it was when she watched the filmed version. I argued that maybe it was because the filmed version allowed for a closer look at the actors faces, which could be providing that extra emotion she was missing from the way back in the stands. But I can’t be sure.
From my perspective, I couldn’t understand what she was talking about. It was all there, every emotion you could have wanted in a big musical: love, fear, anger, shame! And every actor got their chance to show off their chops.
In particular, Jason Arrow as Alexander Hamilton was a knockout! I loved his performance and his delivery, he has a great flow and a natural swagger to him. He was fantastic and an absolute joy to watch onstage.
Lyndon Watts as Aaron Burr was a contentious choice for Casey and I. Casey felt that Watts was too emotionless. I felt that that wasn’t fair, Watts’ character was intentionally neutral. His whole character is about keeping things close to your chest, “Talk less, smile more!” When he has the chance to show real emotion, when his façade breaks, Watts delivers a great performance. Perhaps, again, Casey felt he was lacking in comparison to the original, but I couldn’t say, I haven’t seen it. Though I imagine Leslie Odom Jr. is a hard act to follow.
Props should be given to Victory Ndukwe who got to play two fun roles as Lafayette and Thomas Jefferson. He’s a joy and a big ball of charisma. He had a humour to him that he carried throughout. Ndukwe had great chemistry with Shaka Cook (Hercules Mulligan/James Madison) as well.
Overall, the cast was fantastic, not a bad performance from any one of them. I have nice things to say about everyone but if I did that, we’d be here all day. Just take my word for it that I didn’t feel let down by the cast. World class performances from all.
Casey felt that the changeups to certain scenes were distracting to the overall musical, but again, not having seen it before, I noticed none of this. I think if you are very familiar with Hamilton that this would be an interesting watch regardless.
You can watch the original version on streaming so why not go to the stage to see it a little different?
What else is there to say? It’s a Tony award-winning musical that’s been called fantastic by millions of people before myself so should I really be shocked that it lived up to the hype?
If you haven’t seen this yet, absolutely go see it. You will enjoy it, even if you don’t like musical theatre much. Boys, take your girlfriend to see this for some easy brownie points. She’ll love you for it. Girls, I don’t think I actually need to convince you!
Hamilton will be at the Sydney Lyric Theatre until 27 February so there’s plenty of time. It’s an easy Christmas present is all I’m saying…
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