The smash hit musical has officially opened in London! Written by Steven Levenson (who has won a Tony Award for this show) with a soundtrack by the legendary Benj Pasek and Justin Paul (The Greatest Showman, La La Land), this London production was set to be a resounding success after it’s accomplishments on Broadway winning six Tony Awards. The show follows Evan Hansen (Sam Tutty), whose well intended lie of telling a grieving family that he was best friends with their son spirals out of control. Filled with some fantastic songs and such raw emotion, this show is one not to miss. We loved the show and thought it was so sad! The only part we felt didn’t really land that well with a British audience was “To Break In A Glove”, perhaps with the baseball glove father/son sentiment being something almost exclusively American, but hey, it’s an American show! Regardless, we highly recommend this show. Here are our five reasons to see Dear Evan Hansen in London!
1. Sam Tutty.
Recently graduating from Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts and making his professional West End debut as the title role in this musical, Sam Tutty puts his absolute all into his performance. From the moment he begins the show as Evan Hansen giving himself a pep talk on his bed, you are painted the whole character by Tutty. The nervous ticks and anxious increasing speed of his dialogue is done perfectly and to top it all off, the voice on this guy is unbelievable. All of Evan’s solo numbers are an absolute delight; you can feel the electricity of the audience after each song finishes to raucous applause and noise. This is the beginning of something really special for Tutty, much like Ben Platt, who originated the role on broadway before his career took off, there’s no doubt the same will happen for Sam.
Whilst we haven’t had chance to see the alternate and understudies of Evan Hansen (Marcus Harman, David Breeds and Alex Thomas-Smith), we have heard great things and are sure they will be just as brilliant.
2. The Comedy
For a show that is centralised around mental health, suicide and grief, you wouldn’t expect as many laughs as there are in this production! Evan Hansen’s awkward ways get great laughs from the audience, but the majority of the comedy comes from Evan’s “family friend”, Jared Kleinman (Jack Loxton). His sarcastic quips and put-downs of Evan are hilarious and make for well needed respite from the heavy subject of the story. A comedic highlight of the show is the song “Sincerely Me”, where Jared is roped into creating fake emails to help with Evan’s lie but decides to create a homosexual love story for our protagonist instead.
3. It is so emotional
Obviously a show like this isn’t going to be short of melancholy. So many scenes are brimming with raw emotion and some parts throughout can be quite triggering for people who have suffered similar trauma. The emotion brought into this show stands out with both grieving mothers. Cynthia Murphy (Lauren Ward) mourns for her son in a way that just tears your heart out of your chest. Ward is sensational and gives such a devastatingly sad performance; her reactions in her scenes really hit hard.
Evan’s mother, Heidi Hansen (Rebecca McKinnis) is dealing with an alternative grief, with her husband leaving their family many years ago. It’s not until late in the second act with both “Good For You” and “So Big/So Small” does that heart wrenching performance come from McKinnis, but it is so powerful when it hits.
There’s so much emotion across so many songs in this show it would take too long to describe them all, just take plenty of tissues.
4. The songs are amazing
Pasek and Paul have done it again with this musical. Song after song is just so good and says exactly what needs to be said in each scene. The cast of 8 give immense vigour to group numbers such as “Disappear” and “You Will Be Found” (another heartbreaking one!) with beautiful harmonies across so many numbers in the show it’s a wonder there are only a maximum of 8 people performing these at any given time. Stunning! If you haven’t already got the soundtrack and know it off by heart, we know what you’ll be picking up from the merch stand on your way out.
5. The atmosphere in that auditorium
There’s nothing quite like being in an audience of a new, exciting show that is hotly anticipated and recently opened. Huge applause after big numbers and an inevitable standing ovation add a great feeling to the experience. During scenes and songs you could hear a pin drop, followed by a hushed buzz after the applause. So many people adore this show for its music, the story or the amount it means to their mental health and you can really feel that passion in the room.
What’s more, it’s great that a musical with such a vast fan base is opening up the conversation about mental health and breaking down stigmas on talking about depression, anxiety or other things people are suffering with. Thank you Dear Evan Hansen!
Dear Evan Hansen is currently booking at the Noël Coward Theatre until 2nd May 2020 and tickets can be bought directly on the DEH website https://dearevanhansen.com/london/ (as a tip, we sat in the middle of row E in the Grand Circle and had a great view. The rake of the GC is really good).