Only a year and a half behind the curve, I finally get around to the immense pleasures of the filmed version of musical behemoth Hamilton
“We are waiting in the wings for you”
I don’t think there can be many people left who want to see Hamilton on screen who haven’t done so yet. I held out though, not having really felt too much of the online watching experience that made up theatregoing in lockdown. Plus, I also knew that it wouldn’t be going anywhere anytime soon, unlike so much of the time-limited offerings from theatres.
It is a show I do enjoy, having caught first night and opening night in London, plus making a trip to the Richard Rodgers Theatre beforehand to see this original US cast in action. And I also made a trip once the show reopened this side of lockdown so in some ways, I didn’t really feel the imperative to see it in a non-live context. Obviously, I was wrong.
Filmed over three nights in 2016 with the original cast mostly intact, it is a really ingeniously filmed version of the show that blends its multiple camera angles and lengths of focus to take you into the heart of the action in a way not even the best seat in the house could dream of. And that’s exactly what you want, to try and capture the exuberance of Thomas Kail’s production.
You get a sense of the sheer scale and muscular grace of Andy Blankenbuehler’s choreography but the real joy comes in the intimacy and intensity of the close-up performances that you just don’t get from sitting in a theatre. When the work is as good as that of Phillipa Soo, Daveed Diggs, Renée Elise Goldsberry, Leslie Odom Jr (and on and on), it’s a real privilege to be able to watch and rewatch.