In The Heights - Theatre ☆☆☆☆☆5

Showing from - Saturday, October 3, 2015 through till Sunday, January 3, 2016

Kings Cross Theatre - London

Ella Morris | Wednesday, October 14, 2015

In The Heights reviewed by Ella Morris on Wednesday, October 14, 2015 for Downstage CentreLatin spirit: In The Heights at London's King's Cross Theatre (Photo by Johan Persson)

Award-winning musical In The Heights by Lin-Manuel Miranda, is a non-stop Latino ‘carneval’ from start to finish.

 

It tells the story of a Latino community in the New York suburb of Washington Heights - where people are everything and party time is the order of the day.A fantastic alternative to the ‘staginess’ of musical theatre, In The Heights aims for maximum experience Largely an ensemble piece, moving seamlessly from one number to the next, we follow Nina Rosario, a young Stanford student returning to the ‘barrio’ having flunked her grades and losing her scholarship. How can she face everybody and what will her parents say?

 

Other notable characters include Usnavi, the unlucky in love but much respected local bodega owner; Vanessa – young, pretty and desperate to get a downtown apartment and Daniela, salon owner, resident gossip and ‘tart with a heart’.

It’s theatre at its best. Really and truly. Creative. Fun. Energetic. Spirited. Soulful. Inspiring. Real. And not contrived. What’s more there are no weak links – it’s a real ensemble piece through and through.

 

Initially pulled in by a theatre favourite of mine Victoria Hamilton-Barritt, there were some fantastic performances. Too many to mention. Victoria smashes it again as the hilariously cheeky yet loveable Daniela. Full of vitality in ‘Carneval del Barrio’, Victoria busts some moves despite being with child. That baby will come out with some real musicality!

 

Scatter-Brained

Other shout-outs include Josie Benson who plays the unshakeable Camila Rosario, wife and mother of Kevin and Nina respectively. In ‘Enough’, a number which comes as a surprise to the audience, Josie slaps it down like her life depended on it, at the end of her tether with her husband and daughter. Nooo No No Noooo messing.

 

And finally, Sarah Naudi, as the innocent, scatter-brained Carla. Proving to be a great contrast to Daniela as part of their double act, Carla could easily be played as dumb. Sarah however, approaches with a subtlety that makes Carla less of a caricature and delivers her lines so well that the laughter is maximised.

 

A fantastic alternative to the ‘staginess’ of musical theatre, In The Heights aims for maximum experience. From the theatre foyer turned into a New York subway station to the audience surrounding stage. The audience is drawn cleverly into the Latin spirit and the on-stage action to what ultimately makes for a special experience.

 

In The Heights is on at The Kings Cross Theatre until January 03rd 2016.


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Production Information


Theatre: Kings Cross Theatre

Showing Until: Sunday, January 3, 2016

Production Company: ITH Limited

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