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★★★ Shamilton - Edinburgh Fringe Review by Abi Whitefield - The Scots Reviewer.

Shamilton is an improvised musical which has become a regular feature of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, brought to the stage by improvised comedy experts Baby Wants Candy. With Hamilton being one of the most successful musicals of the last decade, this show is sure to find its audience with Fringe-goers rushing to be, "in the room where it happens". Improvised theatre and musicals are so successful in the UK, so Shamilton has a hard act to follow.


Each show consists of six actors and two musicians, improvising lyrics to famous Hamilton raps and other musical theatre tracks (although the quantity of the music that is Hamilton inspired is debatable). The success of Shamilton is dependent on the strength of audience suggestions, with the narrative telling the story of a famous ‘person’ picked by the audience. Mickey Mouse was selected for this performance, leaving the cast with unique characters and stories to tell.


Having this structure focused on an individual is potentially the show's downfall. Being structured around a famous character requires the audience and cast to have a firm knowledge of the person, their stories, and their interactions. This aspect was somewhat lacking among the cast and led to a show which felt forced at times and potentially fell down the improvisation rabbit hole of trying to do too much to compensate for this, to make the show fun. The audience then became a little lost, with too many characters and no real narrative becoming confusing. The improvised show felt too structured in some ways, appearing too well rehearsed around a playlist presumed to repeat each performance.


However, the audience enjoyed the show, and the cast was all talented and possessed strong improvisational and singing skills. The backing dancing was entertaining, as were the clever real-life character references and the nods to musical theatre, which led the audience into hysterics at points. Scrooge McDuck’s appearance was a favourite. However, there were several moments where the flow was interrupted due to the cast's misunderstanding of characters or querying what was happening, which stopped the audience from being absorbed in the theatre magic as well as they could.


Shamilton will provide a good night out to any musical theatre fans and will leave you laughing, but it feels trumped by some of the other famous Fringe favourites.




Shamilton runs at Assembly George Square Studios until the 27th of August.


Book tickets here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/shamilton-the-improvised-hip-hop-musical

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