Review: ★★★★ In The Heights, King’s Cross Theatre

When I booked tickets for In The Heights, I hadn’t really heard a bad word about it, apart from the odd suggestion that it was better when it was at the Southwark Playhouse last year. I decided that I could deal with that given that everything that ever happens there is wonderful.

Having seen The Railway Children at the Kings Cross Theatre a few weeks ago, I was really interested as to how they were going to turn it into a stage fit for such a different show. It didn’t look that complicated really, although the In The Heights set took up only half the amount of the theatre that The Railway Children did, which was understandable but also a shame in terms of the audience size. The audience was still either side of the stage though, which I find really interesting – why were theatres always built with the audience at one side of the stage? I actually really like this new approach!

Classic trip to the theatre with me saw three understudies, not that I actually know who the third one was, I was a bit confused by the whole thing.

I imagine that most of us underestimate how difficult it is to successfully choreograph when the audience is both sides of the stage, but it didn’t look awkward in any way. I literally know no things about choreography but I’ve seen enough things to know when it looks average, and this was far from that.

Lily Frazer’s Nina left me with a problem. I didn’t think she had a bad voice, I just didn’t like it. I’m yet to work out why. It was only a problem because I didn’t even think it was terrible, so I couldn’t be outraged, I just knew that it was a matter of personal preference and that it wasn’t what I’m used to hearing. The same applied to whoever played Vanessa (I just wrote Nessa, shoot the Wicked fan in me, please), I literally can’t work it out from the website at all and my programme is a solid 2 metres away from me so you’re all just going to have to cope without that information.

ON A FAR MORE POSITIVE NOTE.

Josie Benson’s Camila stood out to me, which is strange because I didn’t even really remember her character. I knew she existed but I just didn’t really care, the first time. Her voice was one of those which was just really easy to listen to, and I actually believed every word she said.

Eve Polycarpou’s Abuela was fantastic, which almost seems obvious to me. Why would it not be fabulous, it’s Eve Polycarpou. Honestly, I forgot she was acting, which I think is a huge testament to anyone on a stage.

Right. Can we just talk about Piragua Guy for a second. WHAT IS PIRAGUA GUY. WHAT IS HE DOING. WHY IS HE THERE. I love him, he’s hilarious, I think the fact that he’s there makes the show an infinitely better piece of theatre, but WHAT, literally all he does is sing about Piragua.

Drew McOnie’s Choreography didn’t disappoint. I loved every single little bit of it, and believe me, that’s what I was watching. It completely held my attention, which is no mean feat, and which is also partly testament to how wonderful the music is. I just cannot wait to see what he does next.

Anyway, I’ve put it back on my phone, it’s become part of my daily playlists, and I think it’s a fantastically written show. I love everything about it, there isn’t a moment in the story when I think ‘meh, that doesn’t really make a huge amount of sense’ (apart from Piragua Guy) or ‘that’s a bit empty’, which happens all too often.

Go and see it, but listen to the soundtrack first. Unless you’ve been listening to Hamilton, it probably won’t be like anything you’ve ever heard before, but if you like the music, and it WILL grow on you, you’ll love the show.

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