Dear Evan Hansen
This new musical focuses on a school student who has a form of anxiety and each day writes a letter to himself starting with “Dear Evan Hansen, Today will be a good day because…”. If you’ve read the advertising for Dear Evan Hansen then you’ll have seen “A letter that was never mean to be read, a lie that was never meant to be told”. This is the letter that gets read and it starts off a chain of events that have a large impact on Evan’s life. The lie Evan initially tells is helpful and comforting to both himself and those he tells it to. But it soon takes on a life of it’s own, which he himself helps fuel, becoming harmful along the way.
There is huge emotional impact to this show and by the interval we were broken, although we found the second half less impactful and the ending was disappointing through being too neat.
You can’t talk about this production without discussing the actor who plays Evan, being a show which rests mostly on his portrayal. He has a lot of social anxiety and insecurities making him struggle in social situations. His school life is not that of happiness but despair. The role has been taken on by Sam Tutty, fresh from a summer run in “Once On This Island”, with a performance which is nothing short of outstanding. The nervous ticks, the movements, are all embedded into the performance alongside showing the journey Evan takes. He truly makes the role his own. I’ll be shocked if he doesn’t win the Olivier for this performance.
He is supported by a wonderful ensemble cast who each take on challenging roles. Given the small cast of only 8 it makes it easy to be able to learn about each of them in turn, each of whom gives an emotional are heartfelt performance.
The show addresses mental health in a sensitive way around a well-constructed story. It looks at how social media can amplify those problems in an individual, addressing both the good and bad. This show is the first to really use social media so heavily in the plot and the set has the social media feeds scrolling through them, being intrusive in the characters lives. It’s a brave subject matter but one which desperately needed to be tackled. This show does that with depth and sensitivity.
It’s a simple set used extremely effectively. We were impressed with the direction of the show making such great use of the set and small cast. We were surprised to see it being only 8 as there were a lot of places where it has, for example, a full school hall. The song “Waving through the window” is an example of how direction, choreography and lighting combine to create an incredible experience.
No doubt this production will have a long run which it deserves and we hope many people get to see this. We give this 4 stars. Tickets are available the Delfont Mackintosh Theatres.