Brett Herriot Review

Dear Evan Hansen, Noel Coward Theatre, London, Review:

Dear Evan Hansen, 

***** 5 Stars

“ A Musical that Puts Humanity and its Weakness at its Heart! “

In a modern world that’s come to be shaped by the adage known as “Fake News” where the deep routed human emotion of just wanting to be accepted has never felt more pertinent or relevant it would seem perhaps inevitable that such a personal story should make its way onto London’s west end and with it into the hearts of musical theatre fans the world over. That Story has arrived in the spectacularly moving “Dear Evan Hansen” a musical that puts humanity and its weaknesses at it’s heart. It’s a thrilling game changer.

Telling the story of Evan Hansen (an emotional and complex performance from Alternate Marcus Harman) an American teen living with social anxiety and trying to fit in to a world that’s always left him on the outside. Confronted with the suicide of Connor Murphy he tells what he thinks is a small lie and finds himself gaining acceptance from both the Murphy family, his school friends and the world that’s brought ever closer by the global power of the internet. The problem is Evan’s mother who has always fought for Evan can see through the lie to the pain that lies deep within Evan. As the Lie snowballs an entire community including Evan lies shattered by the truth, can they find the power of forgiveness and ask the question can you ever really be found?

Debuting in 2016 this multi Tony Award winning musical from Book Writer Steven Levenson with Music and Lyrics from Benji Park & Justin Paul came to London’s west end at the end of 2019 and has proven a sell out smash hit and every plaudit it receives is truly justified.

Each member of the eight strong cast excels and delivers emotionally charged performances that will sear their way into your heart and live long in the memory. Special mention must go to Marcus Harman ( who alternates with Sam Tutty) as Evan, it’s a performance that is headed for Olivier award glory. Along side Harman is Rebecca McKinnis as Evan’s mother Heidi Hansen. The raw emotional intensity that McKinnis brings to the role is nothing short of remarkable and redefines power of musical theatre to inform and move in equal measure. The same is true of the entire cast.

This is a modern musical for modern times that speaks across the generations. Director Michael Greif ( the acclaimed director of Jonathan Larson’s “Rent”) has brought the modern world to the stage of the Noel Coward theatre thanks to David Korins inventive Scenic design which encapsulates the internet and is boosted by the award worthy Projection designs of Peter Nigrini, Japhy Weideman’s lighting design and an impeccable sound design from Nevin Steinberg.

The production is anchored by Musical Director Matt Smith and his tight and cohesive eight piece off stage band that brings a score which transcends human emotion to life, if the future of musical theatre lies in the power of a score alone then Dear Evan Hansen’s music is a guiding light for all that is good that lies ahead.

As the curtain falls, and you wipe away the tears you feel grateful for all that this show has given us, it challenges us to think not only of ourselves but more importantly those around us, we all want to belong, we all desire that best friend we can trust and love with the deepest of our secrets. There is no Fake news with Dear Evan Hansen its truth is the power that can heel but perhaps the question remains, Will you be found? Head to the Noel Coward Theatre and just maybe the answer awaits.

Dear Evan Hansen, Noel Coward Theatre, London, for tickets go to: booking currently until 30th April 2020.

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