Thomas W. Hodgkinson


By Gerard Alessandrini
Menier Chocolate Factory, London

“If you haven’t seen Hamilton, you’re f*****.” That was what a man said to me at the end of Spamilton, the Menier’s energetic new show, which pastiches the most successful Broadway musical in decades. Not having seen Hamilton, I sat through Spamilton deadpan, aware of the mirthfully shaking shoulders of those on either side of me, while I tried to work out what the hell was going on. I knew, of course, that Hamilton was about one of America’s founding fathers. And I knew the libretto and score used hip-hop. But the songs in Spamilton — written by Gerard Alessandrini, an old pro at spoofing musicals — are nearly all direct parodies of Hamilton songs. It’s possible they were clever, but I have no way of knowing. I can say that the plot involves the creator of Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda (played by Liam Tamne, dressed as Hamilton), dreaming of a show that will revolutionise Broadway. I can also say that the cast gives good hoofing; that there’s a funny number performed by Damian Humbley as a camp King George III, lamenting a new era of more heterosexual musicals; and that Simon Beck does a grand job orchestrating at the piano. So, if you’ve seen Hamilton, you’ll likely love Spamilton. If not, well, what the man said was true.