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Hamilton London review: A bravely rule breaking new musical with a near-perfect score

Jamael Westman breaks through astonishingly as Hamilton (Picture: Matthew Murphy)
Nothing has sent s..

Hamilton London review: A bravely rule breaking new musical
Jamael Westman breaks through astonishingly as Hamilton (Picture: Matthew Murphy)

Nothing has sent shock waves quite like Hamilton. Tickets for the last Broadway performance starring its creator, Lin-Manuel Miranda, traded hands for $10,000 (£7,400), and after a much-agonised wait, this hip hop musical has opened in London.

First, let’s address the elephant in the room: a musical about one of the Founding Fathers of America should make us Brits recoil. It should make us want to head to the nearest half price ticket booth in search of a show with ‘Oliver’ or ‘Joseph’ in the title. The British are traditionally as warmed up to the American Dream as Americans are to a warm serving of Spotted Dick.

Yet, Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton is so bravely different, so stylishly rule-breaking and so goddamn catchy, it’s impossible not to be won over by its innate charm.

Hamilton London review: A bravely rule breaking new musical
Jason Pennycooke is a thrilling watch (Picture: Matthew Murphy)

Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda astonishingly modernises the story of the immigrant Hamilton, a bastard by birth who revolutionised the US constitution, and created the country’s first banking system. Hamilton’s life is told almost exclusively in rap (it seems bonkers, right?), but it creates a fury of energy on stage – fuelled by the bopping heads in the audience, like we’re at an Eminem gig – like no show has before.

The rap lets up when the cast burst into excellent songs. It’s a bravely successful musical experiment by Miranda, which is brilliantly fun; a new method of storytelling that feels distinctly relevant for today.

You needn’t know who Hamilton is to be swept up in Miranda’s deliciously rich storytelling. Lots of Brits don’t. But it’s easy to grasp the break-neck pace the plot moves at, because Hamilton’s story is told in easily digestible segments which tackle every intriguing challenge Hamilton faced, from the difficulties of his private marriage, to his salacious dirty dealings and inspirational public speaking as historical characters including George Washington, Aaron Burr and Thomas Jefferson become intertwined.

Hamilton London review: A bravely rule breaking new musical
The wealthy Schuyler sisters (Picture: Matthew Murphy)

Alex Lacamoire and Lin-Manuel Miranda’s genre-spanning, incredibly ambitious score draws on jazz, ballads, pop, soul and show tunes to pay homage to the kaleidoscopic heritage of American music. By the end of the second half, some of the catchiest songs are repeated as their titles, including My Shot and The Room Where It Happens, relate to more than one part of the plot.

RADA graduate Jamael Westman, who plays the title role, oozes confidence in his first major break. His Hamilton is cheekily confident, at his best when he breaks the fourth wall to wink and smirk at the audience with all the passion and charisma you’d expect of a revolutionary.

Hamilton’s playful wit and charm exudes from more than just its lead. Michael Jibson, who plays King George, mainly appears on stage alone but feels omnipresent with his piss-take impression of a pompous British aristocrat, and his performance proudly borrows from pantomime – that’s right, a seriously credible show with a character worthy of going ‘boo, hiss!’ to.

Hamilton London review: A bravely rule breaking new musical
Michael Jibson is light-relief as the comic King George (Picture: Matthew Murphy)

Miranda has worked tirelessly on the characterisation so there isn’t any supporting roles which feel underwritten. Jason Pennycooke is very good as blithely passionate Marquis de Lafayette, and future leader Aaron Burr, played by Giles Terera, tip-toes ferociously from ambitious plotter to remorseful leader.

Although the historical plot is what makes the use of rap interesting, by the second act, when the plot gets into the nitty-gritty of the Federalist Papers, there is a lag. The shaping of the Constitution simply can’t compete with the comparatively dramatic splendour of the Civil War in the first half, but the plot is quickly thickened by Hamilton’s final surge, and the last chapter is enthralling again.

Hamilton London review: A bravely rule breaking new musical
Giles Terera, commanding as Aaron Burr (Picture: Matthew Murphy)

Then there is the boldly daring and frankly unusual ending. The show ends with the virtuous tale of Eliza, Hamilton’s widow, who lived 50 years after Hamilton and continued his work. She is played candidly and spiritedly by Rachelle Ann Go, who, pointing out into the newly-rebuilt Victoria Palace Theatre auditorium, longs to be by Hamilton’s side.

Raw, and rule breaking: it didn’t even end with a song.

MORE: Hamilton creator Lin-Manuel Miranda promises to surprise fans with new music

MORE: Hamilton gets standing ovation on London opening night as RADA newcomer shines in title role

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Big Brother will return next year on ITV2 and online

Big Brother, one of the original UK reality TV shows, will return to screens in 2023, years after being axed by both Channel 4 and later Channel 5.

The show, which launched careers of ITV presenter Alison Hammond and Radio 1 DJ Adele Roberts, will be revived by ITV2 and new streaming platform ITVX.

A promotional video aired during the Love Island series finale on Monday evening.

Officials said the famous house will return with a “contemporary new look”.

The returning programme – which was originally on for 18 years – will see a cast of “carefully selected housemates from all walks of life” live together under strict surveillance for up to six weeks.

Similar to previous editions, the public will regularly vote contestants off in live evictions, as well as deciding on an overall cash prize winner.

“This refreshed, contemporary new series of Big Brother will contain all the familiar format points that kept viewers engaged and entertained the first time round, but with a brand new look and some additional twists that speak to today’s audience,” said Paul Mortimer, ITV2’s reality TV chief.

“We’re beyond excited to bring this iconic series to ITV2 and ITVX where it should especially engage with our younger viewers.”

The series, which takes its name from the all-seeing ruler in George Orwell’s novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, first appeared on Channel 4 in 2000, and was won by Liverpudlian builder Craig Phillips.

It was influential, both as a public social experiment and also in creating a new form of celebrity, with normal people prepared to have their every waking (and sleeping) moment caught on camera and broadcast to the world.

Celebrity editions aired, featuring the likes of Katie Price, Gemma Collins and Mark Owen.

Despite its early success and influence, the National TV Award-winning programme soon found itself embroiled in controversy over reports of bullying, racism, fixing, and general toxic behaviour in the house, with complaints being made to both the police and Ofcom.

The show moved to Channel 5 in 2011 but was axed in 2018 amid a ratings slump. Channel 5 controller Ben Frow later said he had no regrets over the decision and that the media landscape had become “very crowded with reality shows”.

‘Jumping the shark’

Speaking on the BBC Sounds Podcast, Unreal: A Critical History of Reality TV, this summer, Big Brother’s creative director Philip Edgar-Jones said audiences “very clearly hated it” when producers intervened in the programme too much.

“We call it ‘jumping the shark’ in television, when you the hand of the producer is too overt and you feel like the show has therefore lost that sense of authenticity – that’s when the audience gets more angry.

“Being authentic to the show, you create this world with its own internal logic, and you can’t break that internal logic, otherwise you break the magic and you lose the trust of the audience.”

At the time, Big Brother producers said they were open to “future possibilities”, apparently leaving the door open for a return one day.

Irish singing duo Jedward, the identical twin brothers who twice appeared on the celebrity version of the show, have made an early bid online to host the returning series.

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Kim Kardashian ‘wasn’t planning on’ a relationship with Pete Davidson

Kim Kardashian did not see loe coming with Pete Davidson.

In a conversation for Hoda Kotb’s “Making Space” podcast, Kardashian explained that she’d been single for about 10 months before she was ready to date again.
“I think that, you know, sometimes things happen when you just least expect it. It was the last thing that I was really planning on,” she said, “And so when it did happen, we were kind of, like, ‘Oh, my God, I wasn’t planning on this. And this isn’t even what I was thinking of,’ and it just makes it that much sweeter and so much more fun.”
In February 2021, Kardashian filed for divorce from Kanye West.
Kardashian and Davidson appeared in a “Saturday Night Live” sketch together last fall where they shared a kiss. They became Instagram official in March.
“I definitely took my time,” Kardashian said. “I took, you know, 10 months or something before I dated or talked to anyone. And I just wanted that time to really figure out and go through the motions: ‘Am I making the right decision? How do I feel about this?’ So once I went through all of the motions, I finally was, like, ‘OK, guys, I am so ready to meet someone.’ And I randomly did.”
Despite their very public relationship. Kardashian says she is keeping some aspects of her time with Davidson private.
“I do think that I am holding, you know, a little bit more close to my heart on certain aspects of my relationship with Pete, and it feels good just to know that, like, we have this connection and we have our little bubble of a relationship world that we live in that, like, not a lot of people know about,” she said.
For now, Kardashian said just being with Davidson puts a smile on her face.
“We were driving in the car yesterday and I just, like, looked at him and I was like, ‘Thank you.’ And he was like, ‘What?’ And I was like, ‘For running errands with me, like, this is so much fun just to, like, go to a doctor’s appointment or go to the dentist and just, like, run errands. I’m having so much fun.'”
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007 film must treat Bond girls properly, says Waller-Bridge

Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those ele..

Fast cars, martinis and Bond girls are core parts of the formula for 007 films, but one of those elements is set for a change in the latest adventure.

Fleabag creator Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who is working on the script for the 25th Bond film, is on a mission to make sure the movie will "treat women properly" – even if the spy does not.

Image: Cast members (l-r): Lea Seydoux, Ana de Armas, Naomie Harris and Lashana Lynch at the launch of the new Bond film

Ahead of the release of the as-yet-untitled film, Waller-Bridge told Deadline: "There's been a lot of talk about whether or not (the Bond franchise) is relevant now because of who he is and the way he treats women.

"I think that's b*******. I think he's absolutely relevant now. It has just got to grow.

"It has just got to evolve, and the important thing is that the film treats the women properly.


"He doesn't have to. He needs to be true to this character."

Sean Connery and Mie Hama in You Only Live Twice, 1967
Image: The Bond films have been criticised for their sexism
Dr No turned Sean Connery into an international superstar
Image: Dr No featured the famous scene with Ursula Andress walking out of the sea in a white bikini

Waller-Bridge says she intends to ensure the female characters, including those played by Lashana Lynch, Lea Seydoux and Ana de Armas, feel "like real people ".

More from Phoebe Waller-bridge

She added: "I just want to make sure that when they get those pages through, that Lashana, Lea and Ana open them and go, 'I can't wait to do that'.

"As an actrRead More – Source (more…)

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