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Even on paper, it’s a piece of great intricacy, astonishing in the way phrases repeat and either intensify as the show goes on, or are put into new contexts to give them new and more resonant meanings. Every melody and lyric that Miranda introduces has purpose beyond its initial meaning.
The performances also match the variety and energy of the music. Jamael Westman, not long out of drama school, invests Hamilton with immense authority, reminding us that words were always his most effective weapon and suggests a mixture of opportunist and visionary.
I’m delighted to report that, for the most part, Hamilton manages to do so – quite exhilaratingly – and will disarm folk who think that a hip-hop musical about the Founding Fathers isn’t ideally placed to be a mega-hit on this side of the pond.
It is one of those rare shows where each part clicks perfectly into every other. It has a justness to it. Thomas Kail's powerful production honours the complexity of the writing, while keeping things direct and simple.
This show may be about history, but it also makes history itself: not just in the freshness and vivacity of its rap-based score that could come from the charts today, but also in the colour-blind diversity of its cast.
Whether or not ‘Hamilton’ is the best musical of our generation – it clearly is, but whatever – it’s been a hit for the only reason anything is a hit: because it is a great work of entertainment.
At the same time this is an extraordinarily uplifting vision of people from society’s margins becoming big-hitters. In short, believe the hype.