Hamilton (Lewis) – Kings Head Theatre, London

Book: Fiona English

Music and Lyrics: David Eaton

Director: Benji Sperring

Reviewer: Karl O’Doherty

“Do it, then ask for permission later.”

It can come across aggressive, but really it just means having the confidence of your convictions. When you’re on a stage, it’s important to present to the audience an attitude of “this is our best work, we’re confident in the material” – otherwise the feeling is pretty much “well, why don’t we come back when you’ve finished rehearsals?”

Hamilton (Lewis) unfortunately begins with an apology for the amount of rap in the hour-long musical. It takes ages to write apparently. The original Hamilton (full of rap) took the creator four-plus years to write, which in fairness is a little long to spend on this extended sketch inspired by it.

Taking a series of tweets from people who misunderstood the subject of the Hamilton musical (believing it to be actually about the F1 driver) as the foundation, the piece takes us through Lewis Hamilton’s junior seasons and some of his relationship with Nicole Scherzinger. We meet the McLaren team leader Big Ron, as well as teammate Fernando Alonso as well as a mini-carousel of other characters played by the four-person cast.

There are definite good points – it’s fairly innocent fun, some snappy lyrics in the rapping (though not groundbreaking), some charming humour and the cast feel like they’re having a lot of fun, which is certainly infectious. As Lewis, Laetitia Hector gets to do pretty much all the acting here – as Big Ron, Alonso (a total pantomime) and Nicole it feels the others are playing for laughs more than creating a character. It lacks a recognisable narrative arc – feels more like a series of chronological events that may have happened to Lewis Hamilton.

With that front-loaded apology, we’re conditioned to overlook most of this – so it’s largely fine. It’s not great, but it means well and it’s an entertaining hour. There are in-jokes and acknowledgements that the story is incomplete, acting almost as an apology throughout. But as noted, is it really fair to an audience to present work with a wink and a nod when they’re being asked to pay the same for a show with depth?

Runs until 22 September 2018 | Image: The Other Richard

Review Overview

Reviews Hub Score

Good, clean fun - but shallow

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