Hamilton is undeniably American, even in the middle of Brisbane. It is a modern love letter to America’s history, with the soundtrack’s current influences of pop, R&B, and hip-hop. USA Founding Father Alexander Hamilton’s journey to New York, his role in the American Revolution, his ascension and fall from power are all depicted in this musical, though a lot less violent and bloody than the real-life counterpart.
Starting off with a fantastic rendition of the musical’s namesake Alexander Hamilton, with Jason Arrow as our main character and his forage into New York City, it dives into his entanglements with the Schuyler sisters and eventual marriage to Eliza, all while he’s leading the Revolution and trying to form a stable government.
Act II was much more powerful than the first. Though Act I showcased Hamilton’s fortitude and strength as a character, the second act was far more emotionally turbulent – with Hamilton’s infidelity and loss of his son encapsulated through heartbreaking numbers like Burn and It’s Quiet Uptown.
Brisbane’s Hamilton cast undeniably holds its’ own against the original. Angelica’s (Akina Edmonds) powerful vocals stunned during Satisfied, while Thomas Jefferson (Victory Ndukwe) was a crowd-favourite, his charisma outstanding in any performance. King George (Brent Hill) had the audience erupting with laughter for every single appearance, where he simultaneously pines for and gripes at his colonists. Overall, the cast was incredibly strong, especially with the original musical to live up to.
In this musical, Hamilton is depicted as incredibly human – his flaws, his mistakes, and his achievements are all shown in the same light, with neither pedestal nor contempt in his portrayal.
A wonderful in-person experience, I am left with no doubt as to why it has received multiple awards and worldwide acclaim – it is a mandatory experience for anyone who enjoys musicals.
Hamilton the Musical, QPAC Lyric Theatre, 27 January to April 2023, 170 minutes.