Words: Robert Parker-White
The brains behind the smash hit ‘Baby Wants Candy’ bring us Shamilton! The Improvised Hip Hop Musical, an off-the-cuff take on the wildly successful Lin-Manuel Miranda musical phenomenon.
The cast come out with a bang introducing themselves and their house band, The Shamiltones. They quiz us on who we would like to see parodied in today’s musical, reminding us this is someone we would have to watch for an hour. The cast does well at controlling the crowd and taking on board the options.
We get to choose between Gandalf, Borat and Michelle Obama. The latter was the audience choice and Raquel Palmas immediately assumes the role with calm and poise, she is slightly under-energised at times but achieves great pathos as the titular character. Adrian Frimpong gives a serviceable impression of Barack Obama. Chris Grace makes a hilarious marriage counselling Bernie Sanders and Anna Bortnik is a totally deranged Hillary Clinton.
The highlight of the show is Derek Demkowicz as an ice cream obsessed Joe Biden, with delirious pratfalls and confused ramblings. He even dodderingly stumbles into the audience at one point to squeals of delight from the crowd.
Although there is some impressive rhyme and word play and it is a consummate feat to witness, we don’t quite get the belly-laughs we are expecting, there is a lot of repetition and the hits we recognise from Hamilton feel slightly formulaic.
Despite being heavily involved in politics, perhaps Michelle Obama wasn’t the best option. She is a character who, to some, is above criticism and the cast never seem to want to go for the jugular. Fans of Hamilton will really enjoy this hot spin on the musical however fans of improv feel a little more lukewarm.
Shamilton! The Improvised Hip Hop Musical
Assembly George Square Studios, Studio One