On the evening of the 19th of February, I finally got to see one of my favourite musicals – Dear Evan Hansen. I was really excited to see it and it certainly didn’t disappoint! I have loved the story and the message that if you are struggling, reach out and ‘You will be found’ by many people willing to help you get through all the bad times you’re experiencing…whilst that’s all wrapped up into a complex story it is still a part of the message. This story follows the story of Evan Hansen – a socially awkward high schooler as he ends up living a life he never in a million years thought he would be able to – a life where he fits in. The story talks about topics such as social media, depression, anxiety and grief in very real ways. This cast was incredible! There are so many talented people within this show! Let’s dive into it! Don’t worry there are no spoilers within this review!
First up, we have the leading man – Sam Tutty. Sam was INCREDIBLE!! He was made to play this role. His mannerisms and general behaviour as Evan were spot-on. From the moment that you first see Sam’s Evan you knew he was going to be great in the role but he was phenomenal. If you’ve read the book as I did prior to seeing the show, you’d know why I just wanted to protect him, especially during the second act. We had the understudy for Heidi – Tricia, I thought she and Sam had a great and believable mother/son bond onstage especially during the song ‘So Big/So Small’. Sam also had a great onstage relationship with Lucy who plays Zoe Murphy in the show; I thought it was a really cutely acted relationship especially during their main duet ‘Only Us’, it was a really sweet and happy scene with great vocals as their vocals blended really nicely together. I also enjoyed Sam’s onstage friendship with Jack who plays Jared. It was a really comedic friendship which is definitely needed within this production. As I said Sam was a great actor but he is also an amazing singer. His version of Words Fail – the song Evan sings when everything has collapsed on him made me sob, you could feel all the emotion radiating off of him, you just wanted to tell him it was going to be ok. His version of ‘For Forever’ was amazing and although you knew it wasn’t the truth, he made you think it was because he painted such a great and happy picture. Another standout was Evan’s part within the song ‘Good for You’, where Evan’s world starts unravelling, That climax (I gotta find a way to stop it, stop it, just let me out) has been one of the moments that has stuck in my head days after seeing it. The fact that this is Sam’s West End debut is insane to me as he was incredible! Overall Sam was the perfect Evan! Amazing well done to whoever cast him! Can’t wait to see him hopefully progress within the West End/Theatre industry within the future years!
As I mentioned above we had the understudy Heidi Hansen – Tricia Adele-Turner, she was amazing! She and Sam had a great and believable bond. Tricia has such a motherly vibe to her which made you feel at ease. Her song with Lauren (who plays Cynthia Murphy) called ‘Anybody Got A Map’ is the first song you hear in the show and it was a great way because Tricia had a great voice which was shown off within this number. Another moment I loved Tricia’s vocals in is the song ‘Good For You’ without giving too much away Heidi ends up mad at Evan because he is spending all his time at the Murphy’s but Tricia’s vocals in that song were so sassy and enjoyable. Tricia also showed off her vocals in the penultimate song ‘So Big/So Small’ which is a really sweet moment during the show where Heidi tells Evan that she is never going to go anywhere; even if nothing is going right in Evan’s world, Heidi is never going to leave him, which is a really sweet moment between her and Sam. Overall I really enjoyed seeing Tricia’s Heidi, she was an amazing Heidi and I liked getting the chance to see another understudy excel in a main role.
Next, we have Lucy Anderson as Zoe Murphy. This is another West End debut within in this cast! Zoe has been one of my favourite female musical theatre roles so I was excited to see Lucy’s portrayal…spoiler alert, I loved it! She was how I imagine Zoe to be, seemingly confident but actually is quite shy which is shown within the song ‘If I Could Tell Her’. As Zoe’s main song ‘Requiem’ is one of my favourite songs to belt I was curious about seeing it live but it was incredible; Lucy, Lauren and Rupert sang it so well and you felt every word of it, especially the conflict within Zoe about not knowing how to feel with the situation that she finds herself in. I really enjoyed seeing her relationship with Sam grow from her being suspicious of him and the letters to believing him and being really happy together. I really enjoyed their duet of ‘Only Us’, I thought they blended really nicely together and it was a really sweet moment where they were both happy and in love. Overall I loved Lucy’s portrayal of Zoe and I cannot believe that this is her West End Debut because she was so good!
Following Lucy we have Jack Loxton who plays Jared, he was hilarious! His comedic timing was spot on. I adored his main song – ‘Sincerely Me’ which he sings with Doug and Sam; those three worked so well together and the song made me laugh so much as it is just so chaotic which makes it even more enjoyable. Another time we got to hear Jack’s vocals are in ‘Good For You’ alongside Tricia and Nicole, during that song you could hear that he had a really strong voice which makes me wish we could have heard it more. Jared is such a fun and chaotic character who ever so slightly tortures Evan which brings the most laughs – which with this show is certainly needed! Overall Jack was hilarious and made me laugh throughout the show – another great casting choice!
Moving on, we have the other member of Evan’s little friendship group, Alana played by Nicole Raquel Dennis. Nicole excelled within this role, another perfect casting choice. Everyone knew a person like Alana during their time in school and Nicole certainly brought back memories. Alana has one main solo within the song ‘Good For You’ which she slayed! Although it did make me wish we were able to hear her vocals more as they were so good! Overall this was another role I really enjoyed watching, Nicole did a really great job that I couldn’t imagine anyone else in the role!
Following Nicole, we have Lauren Ward and Rupert Young as Cynthia and Larry Murphy. Whilst they weren’t always onstage I enjoyed the parts when they were. You really felt for them and their desperation of wanting to believe Evan…especially during the songs ‘For Forever’ and ‘Requiem’ I thought that Lauren did a really good job alongside Tricia in the opening song ‘Anybody Got A Map’ and I wish we could get more of them together, Lauren did a great job at portraying Cynthia’s desperation to believe every word of Evan’s story about her son that you want to protect her. Rupert has a great song with Sam in the second act called ‘To Break A Glove’ which is a really sweet moment between Evan and Larry, where Evan gets a father figure that he never had and Larry is able to be the father figure he never was with Connor. I’m not going to lie it is a song I normally skip when listening on the soundtrack but within the show, it is a really heartfelt moment. Overall I really enjoyed both Lauren and Rupert within these roles.
Finally, we have Doug Colling as Connor, whilst not on stage as much as the other characters he is the main subject of this story and is as much of a character as Evan and Zoe. I really enjoyed his comedic input within ‘Sincerely, Me’ – I love the iconic dance that he and Evan do within the song. Doug got the chance to show off his great vocals within the penultimate song of the first act ‘Disappear’, during it you could hear that Doug had a great voice, I just wish we got to hear more of it! Overall I thought Doug was another great casting choice!
Top 5 Moments
- My favourite moment has got to be Sam’s version of ‘Words Fail’, oh my god, it’s not a song I would listen to a lot at home but within the show, it is a masterpiece. Sam sang it with such pain and emotion that he made me cry, you just wanted to go over hug him and tell him(Evan) that everything is going to be ok.
- ‘Good for You’ is one of my favourite songs to blast so I was curious to see if I liked it live, I didn’t only like it, I loved it. Tricia has such a strong and sassy voice during it as did Nicole and Jack, I’m happy that they get a chance to shine during that song. My favourite part of it has got to be Evan’s big downward spiral as Heidi, Jared and Alana’s microphones are turned up drowning out Evan and then you hear Evan singing “stop it, stop it just let me out”, I thought that was done really well.
- I can’t not include ‘You Will Be Found’ in my top 5. It is such an incredible moment when all the cast is singing the chorus at the same time with all their microphones turned on full, it was a really powerful moment that caused me to tear up. An amazing way to end the first act.
- Next, we have Requiem the song that the Murphy family sing after dinner with Evan. It starts with Zoe wondering how people could think so positive of Connor when he was so awful to her. It also shows Cynthia and Larry coming to terms with the situation. The song shows that everyone responds to problems in their own way and there is no correct way to deal with such a devastating situation.
- Finally, we have Waving Through A Window, this is where I was like yup he’s going to be a great Evan. You could see all of his ticks and Evan-isms which could have easily gone over the top but he kept them realistic. This song was just great acting filled with a great voice.
Overall I ADORED this musical! I think that is needed within the world that we are currently living in. All the lyrics and stories within this musical show different struggles that people have in life and how everyone deals with them. The cast was amazing especially Lucy Anderson and Sam Tutty who are making their West End debuts in these roles! I really hope that I get to return to it soon! Also can we PLEASE have an Original West End cast recording, please?!
If you like the sound of this musical you can Get Tickets for Dear Evan Hansen Here!