Edinburgh Festival FringeEdinburgh Fringe 2018MusicalReviewScotland

Hamilton (Lewis) – Assembly George Square, Edinburgh

Book: Fiona English

Music and lyrics: David Eaton

Director: Benji Sperring

Reviewer: Stephen Bates

Lin Manuel Miranda’s smash hit Broadway musical Hamilton has already been followed across the Atlantic by the off-Broadway parody Spamilton and now, within a matter of weeks, comes this new variation, based loosely on the life and career of Britain’s World Formula 1 champion. What next we wonder, Hamilton (Neil and Christine)?

Standing behind a row of toy cars, boy and girl racers (two of each) begin with a string of disclaimers, presumably to dodge writs from Miranda, Hamilton and others, but the most significant one is to prime the audience not to expect too much rap (“it took years to write Hamilton”). This is a disappointment, because Miranda demonstrated how rap can advance story-telling and give a musical an unstoppable rhythm. With so little rap, the show often stalls and all that we get are David Eaton’s very ordinary songs linked together by tired jokes and too much talk.

What Fiona English’s book tells us is that, in common with so many sporting superstars before him, Lewis is not very interesting. He is portrayed here by Letitia Hector as a naive young man who has zero personality, mentored by his team boss (Jamie Barwood). He contrasts with a red-cloaked, pantomime villain Fernando Alonso (Louis Mackrodt). “You can’t be a winner just by driving fast” Alonso advises the novice, pointing him in the direction of branding and high profile girlfriends. Enter Pussycat Dolls singer Nicole Scherzinger (Liberty Buckland), whose involvement with Lewis is seen here as more of a publicity stunt than a romance.

Director Benji Sperring harnesses the energy of the four performers well, but he is hampered by a stage that is too big and the whole feel is of a show being poorly thought-through and quickly thrown together. There is clear scope for improvement and it should all become slicker during its run. In the meantime, good humour is not enough to carry it and it is good only in patches, as checkered as the flag that our hero wants so much to pass first.

Runs until 26 August 2018 | Image: Contributed


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The Scotland team is under the editorship of Lauren Humphreys. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. We aim to review all professional types of theatre, whether that be Commercial, Repertory or Fringe as well as Comedy, Music, Gigs etc.

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One Comment

  1. Hamilton (Lewis) was absolutely fabulous.. it is definitely one to go and see at this years fringe. All 4 performers were equally brilliant , funny, talented , musical and the story line was hilarious … just wish Lewis Hamilton and Nicole Scherzinger were watching .

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