Thursday, 1 February 2018

LIN MANUAL MIRANDA: THE SHAKESPEARE OF OUR AGE?



'Hamilton' is breathtaking. I felt as though I knew it verbatim: my kids have been singing the songs to me for the past two years. They have the whole thing by heart, as do their friends. Its influence on millennials has been that nuclear.
But nothing could have prepared me. This is musical theatre rewritten and reinvented. It makes a mockery of the 'Mamma Mias', the 'Lion Kings' and the 'Phantoms' without trying. It takes 'Les Miserables' to a logical conclusion. It states, in so doing, that the language of the genre is simply the magic of song and dance distilled. Little else. It needs no special effects (although the lighting design here is inspired). It is political. It deploys the pantomime tweak of the evolving send-up of current affairs. It compares gun crime and the plight of immigrants in the 18th Century to those exact-same blots on the American landscape today. It ridicules our own imperial past. It is so quick, so subtle, that one could see it a dozen times and still get but a soupcon of the whole. But it's hip hop. How on earth can this work? You have to be there. 

Its creator Lin Manuel Miranda might be the Shakespeare of our age. The thing is, just see it, and let it wash over you, like a tidal wave. Less musical, more definitive moment in history. After 'Hamilton', things will never be the same.

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