What do you do when the whole world thinks ‘Hamilton’ is trending because of a Formula One driver and not a musical? Write a musical about it of course! But this is no mere parody of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip hop hit. Original, and as witty as it’s inspiration, this musical is perfect for the Fringe, although requires some prior knowledge to gain the full experience.
Hamilton (Lewis) is the epic story of a self-starter, who worked a lot harder, by being a lot faster. Born and raised in Stevenage, this is the musical story of the most successful British F1 driver in the history of the sport. Blending hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B and Broadway, discover the petrol-fuelled thrills and spills of the life of Hamilton (Lewis) then, as told by Hamilton (Lewis) now. A brand new musical parody guaranteed to have you in hysterics all the way to the finish line. Not in any way endorsed by Lin-Manuel Miranda… or Hamilton… (Lewis)… or the Pussycat Dolls.
The idea itself is one of a genius – so much of Lewis Hamilton’s story matches up to Alexander Hamilton’s; the rivalry between Hamilton and Alonso echoes that of Hamilton and Burr and the creators have found great comparisons in the song titles and lyrics… Driving is easy, branding is harder! Although the music isn’t Hamilton with alternative lyrics, the writers prove that originality can still work in a parody. I enjoy the new soundtrack, that showcases novel tunes with some speedy rap of it’s own.
The humour is fresh if slightly cliquey, and maybe sometimes doesn’t go far enough. Knowledge of Hamilton and the Formula One circuit will get you the most out of this show but I’m sure anyone would find Nicole Scherzinger’s role hilarious. With every entry a new part of her costume adopts a garish logo – generally the mix of period ruffs and buckles with practical racing jumpsuits is inspired. What could have used more work are further choreographic nods to Hamilton, a show bursting with recognisable contemporary moves. I also wanted to see a full-blown duel (Ten Duel Commandments style) between Hamilton and Alonso which didn’t quite come. There was more fun to be squeezed out of this spoof!
The cast are outstanding. Letitia Hector is a brilliant female Lewis Hamilton, which only added to the comedy (nodding to the lack of female Formula One drivers). Jamie Barwood shines in his numbers as Ron Dennis with a stunning set of vocals. Louis Mackrodt (Alonso) and Liberty Buckland (Nicole) complete this small but talented cast that are very aware of their purpose and clearly enjoy the light-hearted humour brought around by this show.
This musical gives a great balance of parody and originality. It may be young and a little scrappy, but it’ll definitely leave Hamilton fans (both musical and sporty) hungry for more laughs.
Hamilton (Lewis) is at Assembly George Square Studios – One as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 27 August. Tickets available online.
You can also catch the show in London at the King’s Head Theatre from 5-22 September. Tickets available now.
My Edinburgh trip was supported by the Network of Independent Critics! Find out more about their work here.