(Directed by Amy Campbell, Lyric Theatre, Sydney, 2021) (Reviewed by Margo Jakobsen)
Masked-up and entering the Sydney Lyric Theatre in an orderly fashion, I was eager to see if the musical justified the buzz. Some already knew, a couple of fans wearing period costumes of their own. Others were clearly familiar with the moments. For example, a cry went up at the ‘immigrants get the job done’ line and Brent Hill’s crassly, juvenile King George, made a popular and delicious contrast with the rawest emotions of Chloe Zuel as Hamilton’s wife, Eliza. The play ended with her enigmatic gasp.
Amazing songs, such as Hamilton‘s opener and the classic, ‘my shot’ song. Throughout, the wordy, clever rap was crystal clear, tight, fast and eminently suited to packing in the dense detail of this American, colonial story without losing us along the way. I’d strongly recommend familiarising yourself before the show, with a basic outline of the events and main political players around the time when the national government starts. Lin-Manuel Miranda’s much-awarded achievement in writing the music, book and lyrics and also playing the role of Alexander Hamilton on Broadway has given him a stratospheric, global reputation. The choreography was energetic, disciplined and expressive while the revolving stage added a fluidity to the dramatic transitions. Some have criticized the set as ‘drab’, but I think it was traditionally and effectively used, and kept the focus on the characters and action. Full-marks to the Australian cast. First and foremost, Jason Arrow as Hamilton and Lyndon Watts as his friend, Aaron Burr, a relationship that disintegrated into jealousy and a duel. There was not one weak performance. They all deserved the sustained, standing ovation.