I was aware of “In The Heights” being a big hit at the Kings Cross Theatre in 2015. I was in the area to see David Bowie’s
“Lazarus” and in hindsight I wish I had switched shows. At the time I had never heard of Lin- Manuel Miranda, although after
a certain musical opened (which we loved) he is now a household name, especially in Cardiff after he made an unheralded
appearance at a local karaoke night singing “Stars” from Les Miserables (check it out on Youtube, it is fabulous!)
Impressively, the blurb in the Edinburgh Fringe brochure doesn't mention the writer, I only noticed it by peering closely at the
picture of the show. The story is quite straightforward. It is set in New York’s Washington Heights where we see a variety of
characters and follow their stories, mainly through song. The opening song is hip-hop in style and could have been taken
straight from ”Hamilton”, although most of the songs are the type you would expect to hear in a normal musical.
This venue has a large stage, which is just as well as there is a big cast as well as a live band. This is a very episodic show
and must have been heavily cut to run at just 50 minutes but with so many many songs and scene changes it seems quite
sprawling. The cast is young and perhaps unsurprisingly some voices are stronger than others. However, I am really pleased
that they chose not to go down the route of using voice mikes which I think is one of the curses of modern theatrical life.
An amazing fact of "In The Heights" is that it only played for 4 shows. I suspect this is due to the cost of bringing so many people from America but it is a shame that more people didn't get the opportunity to see this show. It is far from perfect, a lot of the cast have to play characters a lot older than their real age, but it is a lot better than it might have been.
It is too late to recommend that you see the show but we are glad we did!
In The Heights is at theSpace @ Niddry Street until August 10th
theSpace @ Niddry St (Venue 9)