Apparently when the West End transfer of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s Hamilton was announced there was some brief confusion on Twitter as to why the Formula One Driver from Stevenage would be a good subject for a musical. Of course, they had confused Alexander for Lewis, and it was the story of the Founding Father that would tread the boards at the Victoria Palace Theatre. But, that slight mis-understanding did prompt the King’s Head Theatre to create Hamilton (Lewis), a parody musical that has the potential to appeal to a wide audience, but may struggle to finish in pole position.
Witten by Fiona English, it’s a clever concept that takes some of best bits of Hamilton and reshapes them for the formula one driver. It’s incredibly funny in places, with witty one liners and visual comedy blended in to some rather impressive rap numbers. If you don’t know much about either of the Hamilton’s then you’ll probably struggle, but even just knowing about one (for me it’s Alexander Hamilton) is enough.
The rap that they have is good, but there’s not enough of it, and the cast warn us of this in an opening barrage of disclaimers, there are some good songs from David Eaton but many of them are just not Hamilton-esque enough. The cast of four are bursting with energy and you can see Benji Sperring’s influence over them, even if they look a little lost on such a large stage decked only with toy cars and flags.
The cast are good, as is the music to a point, perhaps it’s just that Lewis Hamilton isn’t interesting enough to have a musical made about him. There’s plenty of aspersions cast about the driver and that makes things a little juicier and gives it some edge.
This isn’t the first time Hamilton has been parodied, Spamilton is currently running at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London, and it seems that anything spawned by the musical behemoth is sure to be a success. Hamilton (Lewis) however, could use a little work before it transfers to London lest it be seen as a poor imitation of a something more successful.