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Hamilton opens in London to five-star reviews

After a year of expectation and a two-week delay, hip-hop musical Hamilton has finally opened in Lon..

After a year of expectation and a two-week delay, hip-hop musical Hamilton has finally opened in London to five-star reviews and a standing ovation.

A star-studded audience took to its feet to welcome creator Lin-Manuel Miranda as he came on stage at the end of the show to thank its cast and crew.

Yet fans hoping to see him appear in the West End will have to wait for it.

Speaking before the show, Miranda said he would not consider playing Hamilton in London until 2019 at the earliest.

"I'm not done with this role by any stretch, and of course it's a dream of mine to act in the West End at some point," he told reporters.

"I hope those dreams converge, but it won't be in 2018."

Miranda played the title role when Hamilton – which he also wrote – opened off-Broadway in 2015.

It went on to become a huge Broadway hit, winning 11 Tony awards and the Pulitzer Prize for drama.

Set during and after America's War of Independence, the show uses rap, hip-hop and a multi-racial cast to recreate the life of the new nation's first treasury secretary.

The dense, all-singing/rapping musical – which runs for almost three hours – also explores his political rivalry with Aaron Burr, America's third vice-president.

Alexander Hamilton is played in London by Jamael Westman, a 25-year-old Rada graduate with only two other stage credits to his name.

In her five-star review in The Times, Ann Treneman admits Westman was "a risky casting" but calls his performance "sensational".

The Guardian's critic applauds the "immense authority" he gives the role, while the Evening Standard's reviewer calls him a "magnetic newcomer".

'Every inch the classic'

Henry Hitchings also salutes the "cool shrewdness" that British actor Giles Terera projects as Burr, the "Salieri to Westman's Mozart".

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Dominic Cavendish says the show "really is as good as we've been told".

Variety's Matt Trueman concurs, saying the musical "lands on the London stage looking every inch the classic".

Yet the show gets a more muted response from the Mail's Quentin Letts, who says it has been "over-hyped" and advises ticket-holders to "lower [their] expectations".

Hamilton got a far warmer reception than that from the first night's celebrity attendees, among them Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston.

"To be able to tell a historic story without being didactic or preachy is an exceptional piece of work," said the American actor.

"I'm thrilled that something so different can be so successful, and it's got a lot going for it in terms of content," said Queen guitarist Brian May.

Rolling Stones member Ronnie Wood, meanwhile, expressed admiration at how it had "captured the imagination of all ages".

Other stars took to Twitter to sing its praises, among them singer Sir Tom Jones, director Edgar Wright and illusionist Derren Brown.

Helen Bonham Carter, Adrian Lester, Andrew Lloyd Webber and Phoebe Waller-Bridge were also in attendance at the newly refurbished Victoria Palace on Thursday night.

There was also a Doctor in the house in the form of actress Jodie Whittaker, who is set to make her Doctor Who debut on Christmas Day.

Despite the venue's proximity to Buckingham Palace, there were no royals present besides Michael Jibson's scene-stealing turn as an exasperated George III.

Miranda, however, said The Queen was "always welcome" and that there was "a fancy booth held for her if she ever wants to come by".

Last month it was announced that the 37-year-old would reprise his Hamilton performance for a three-week run in hurricane-hit Puerto Rico in January 2019.

"Tourism is going to be so important in the rebuilding process and they're going to need an influx of money and attention," said the actor and composer, who is of Puerto Rican descent.

The immediate future, though, presents challenges closer to home for the affable multi-hyphenate.

"I'm going to be a father for the second time," he told the BBC News website. "So I owe my wife a little time at home and I plan to take the first quarter [of 2018] just doing that."

Hamilton is at the Victoria Palace Theatre and currently booking until 30 June 2018.

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email [email protected]

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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.

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"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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Sir Elton hits out at Russia for ‘cruel’ Rocketman censorship

Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic..

Sir Elton John has criticised Russian censors for cutting gay sex scenes from the hit musical biopic Rocketman.

The critically acclaimed film charts the British singer's rise to fame, and its scenes of kissing and sex between men, as well as drug use, contributed to it earning a 15 certificate in the UK.

But in a bid to play down the sexuality of Sir Elton, played by actor Taron Egerton, for a conservative Russian audience, an estimated five minutes of footage was reportedly removed ahead of its debut in Moscow.

Taron Egerton on Sir Elton: 'I adore him'

The Moscow Times quoted a Russian film critic who had seen the film at its world premiere in Cannes on 16 May as saying "all scenes with kissing, sex and oral sex between men have been cut", as well as a photo displayed during the end credits featuring Sir Elton and his husband David Furnish.

Sir Elton, 72, a prominent gay rights campaigner, released a joint statement with the makers of the film to accuse censors of being "cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people".

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"We reject in the strongest possible terms the decision to pander to local laws and censor Rocketman for the Russian market, a move we were unaware of until today," they said.

"That the local distributor has edited out certain scenes, denying the audience the opportunity to see the film as it was intended, is a sad reflection of the divided world we still live in and how it can still be so cruelly unaccepting of the love between two people.

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"We believe in building bridges and open dialogue, and will continue to pushRead More – Source

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Ben Affleck steps out to drop off kids as Robert Pattinson is announced as new Batman

Ben Affleck played Batman until earlier this year (Picture: Backgrid)
Ben Affleck has been pictured ..

Ben Affleck played Batman until earlier this year (Picture: Backgrid)

Ben Affleck has been pictured performing his parental duties in Los Angeles, as his official replacement in the Batman role is announced.

The 46-year-old actor was seen in the early hours on Friday (31 May) dropping off son Samuel, seven, and daughter Seraphina, 10, to school.

Affleck has three children with ex-wife Jennifer Garner – Seraphina, Samuel and 13-year-old Violet.

On the same day the actor was pictured, it was announced Robert Pattinson will take over as Batman in a planned trilogy of movies with director Matt Reeves.

Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck, Samuel Garner Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck was on parent duties (Picture: Backgrid)

Affleck, who played Bruce Wayne in Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice and 2017s Justice League, stepped down from the role in January earlier this year – after being originally down to direct and star in his own film.

More: Ben Affleck

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Speaking about his departure in March, Affleck stated how he was never happy with the script they were planning to use.

Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck has a number of roles in the pipeline (Picture: Backgrid)
Brentwood, CA - Ben Affleck was on daddy duty this morning in Brentwood ahead of the weekend. Pictured: Ben Affleck, Seraphina Rose Elizabeth Affleck, Samuel Garner Affleck BACKGRID USA 31 MAY 2019 BYLINE MUST READ: Boaz / BACKGRID USA: +1 310 798 9111 / usasales@backgrid.com UK: +44 208 344 2007 / uksales@backgrid.com *UK Clients - Pictures Containing Children Please Pixelate Face Prior To Publication*
Ben Affleck with son Samuel and daughter Seraphina (Picture: Backgrid)

We worked on the script, I was trying to figure out how to cRead More – Source

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