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A review of Hamilton on Disney+: ‘It is worth all the hype’


By Shayna Sappington
05th Jul 2020
A review of Hamilton on Disney+: ‘It is worth all the hype’

The award-winning Broadway musical has taken the world by storm and rightly so. The casting, music and delivery create a hype-worthy historical yet topical performance brilliantly translated on screen


I had always wanted to see Hamilton on broadway but could never get tickets. So when I heard it was coming to Disney+, I made a night of it.

And I’m happy to say that I wasn’t disappointed. 

If you are a fan of musicals, rap, history or just looking for quality entertainment, this Pulitzer prize-winning show ticks all the boxes.

Created by Lin-Manuel Miranda, the musical tells the story of one of the most underrated founding fathers of the US, Alexander Hamilton (who is played by Miranda himself). 

The film is a recording of the original Broadway cast, featuring Daveed Diggs (Marquis de Lafayette/Thomas Jefferson), Renée Elise Goldsberry (Angelica Schuyler), Leslie Odom Jr (Aaron Burr) and Phillipa Soo (Eliza Hamilton).

The plot

In the musical, we follow the riveting thread of Hamilton’s life, from his upbringing of lesser means to his complicated rivalry with future VP Aaron Burr; to his role as George Washington’s right hand man; to becoming the first Secretary of Treasury.

Hamilton is instantly likeable as a forthright figure with a passion for his fellow citizens and nation’s overall wellbeing. He fights against the hilariously portrayed King George III (Jonathan Groff), who throws a temper tantrum when his unruly American subjects rebel.

As I expected, the vocal and acting performances were brilliant, but I was pleasantly surprised with the music, strategically reminiscent of 1990s rap, the clever choreography and the purposeful parallels to modern issues.

Ever so relevant

The cast is solely made up of minorities, bar Groff as King George, illuminating the ever present irony of a war fought for freedom followed by a civil disagreement involving the ownership of black slaves.

And, in the wake of the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor and Black Lives Matter protests, racial tensions have continued to rise around the world, making this musical more relevant than ever. 

Watching from my sofa, I found myself bowled-over by starkly stated truths, cheering after colonial rap battles and moved to tears during the more surreal moments of Hamilton’s struggle.

There is an overarching comedic aspect that makes the very real political stances and dark moments digestible. And, surprisingly, the live experience doesn’t lose its immediacy in its translation to film.

The close up cuts of characters, with dynamic stage lighting, create a very intimate experience. The two hours and forty minutes truly flew by.

But enough spoilers from me, do yourself a favour and tuck into it when you can. You won’t be disappointed.

Feature image: IMDB

 

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