Now, with all the Lin-Manuel Miranda hype from this year’s Tony Awards, I presume a lot of people will be very much interested in his other amazing production, In The Heights, which is currently running in King’s Cross Theatre in London.
Now, I have fortunate enough to have seen this production a few times since its opening last year, and I can genuinely say it is one of the best shows I have ever seen. The vibrant colours, the music and the what-seems-to-be unlimited energy from the ridiculously talented cast all combine beautifully in order to put on what I consider to be a faultless performance every night, sometimes twice a day!
As the show opens, you are immediately thrown into the world of the barrio of Washington Heights. The people in this neighbourhood aren’t doing so well, and a lot of factors are working against them, with the price of rent escalating and business not growing to match it, a lot of the business owners are struggling to keep their livelihood alive.
The storyline follows a few central characters as they each have to work through their own challenges in order to get back on the right track. The Rosario family owns the cab office, and with less than satisfactory offers from various sources for them to close, they try to keep on and help their daughter, Nina continue with her college studies. Usnavi, the local bodega owner is also struggling, in business and also in trying to win the affections of Vanessa, who works in the salon. The salon is also facing hardship, with its owner, Daniela having to packed it up and move it to the Bronx.
This show is one that is filled with what it means to be a family, a community and how those around us are absolutely vital to have when things get tough, with some absolutely outstanding performances from the cast.
Sam Mackay is an absolutely perfect Usnavi, and definitely one to watch for perhaps a spot in the Hamilton cast when it crosses the pond next year. Philippa Stefani is also a force to be reckoned with in this show, her sass and energy seems to fuel the scenes she is in, with “No me diga” being a personal favourite of mine. Christine Allado and Gabriela Garcia, albeit newer to being cast in the central characters of Vanessa and Nina, are not letting that hold them back, with voices that nearly bring the roof down – and that isn’t just because the theatre is in some sort of tent!
Please, hop on the A train – or at least, the Northern line, to go see In The Heights at the King’s Cross Theatre, where it is running until October of this year, you definitely will not regret it!