Dear Evan Hansen; a review.

* I was given tickets to this show in exchange for a review; that in no way affects my opinion that this show was utterly brilliant and devastating and magical. Read on for more gushing. *

Last night (Wednesday 5th of February) I was lucky enough to get a pair of tickets to see a show I’d only heard truly great things about, and had actually had on my radar for a while – ‘Dear Evan Hansen’. 

Here’s some background for you…

Transferring to the West End following a hugely successful US premiere (and Tony wins), including a sold-out national tour, the heartfelt story follows teenager Evan Hansen as he tries to cope with a lie that spirals out of control.

What does it feel like to not fit in? Evan Hansen has spent his whole life feeling invisible; coming from a broken home with only a few friends, he wishes for a completely different life. When a letter he wrote that was never meant to be seen is found, a dangerous lie rapidly spirals out of control. Soon, Evan it getting everything he has ever dreamed of. But at what cost?

The book of ‘Dear Evan Hansen’ is by Steven evenson, music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul – who created the scores for the incredibly successful ‘La La Land’ and ‘The Greatest Showman’. With a soundtrack that is already beloved by fans across the world, the production features emotional songs including “Waving Through a Window”, “Requiem” and “You Will Be Found”.

Michael Greif (‘Rent’, ‘Next to Normal’, ‘If/Then’) directs the musical, which also features choreography by Danny Mefford, orchestrations by Alex Lacamoire, set design by David Korins, costume design by Emily Rebholz, lighting design by Japhy Weideman and sound design by Nevin Steinberg.

The casting of this production was pretty much perfect. And, I mean, Sam Tutty. Can we just talk about this miraculous human? Okay. He was utterly adorable and completely believable in his awkward and pained portrayal of Evan. His erratic way of speaking and the uncomfortable way he would carry himself throughout was heartbreaking and hilarious, all at once; his interactions with the other cast members were all wonderful. My theatre date (a big Evan Hansen fan) also noted how he’d mirror some of Connor Murphy’s (Doug Colling’s) movements when they had scenes together that happened in his own mind. Little touches like that can be huge in the overall impressions of the production, and it’s no surprise that Sam is getting only the best reviews for his West End debut (!!).

My date for the evening; the lovely Stevie.

Generally, the acting and direction was all superb, and almost every song made me want to gasp; they were all so full of heart and many of them were unlike anything I'd heard before in how they changed tone and pace so quickly. There were moments in the show when I genuinely felt a sharp pain in my chest and my tummy ached. I didn't cry at any point (although I did tear up at the very end; more on that to come) but I think that's because my mind was so focused on the story, and I was feeling so much in my body, y'know? 

Okay. Let’s get into the set – high concept to say the least; all digital displays, sliding platforms and hectic holograms, oh my. Throughout the production, the characters were surrounded by flickering images, projections and… a lot of darkness. And I think it was that intense darkness that (spoiler alert) made it so impactful when the set suddenly became bright and clear towards the end. When all the social media screens finally gave way to pure blue light, and hopeful sprigs that would someday become tall trees… that was so powerful. I also really felt the madness when the Facebook posts went viral, and strangers’ voices filled the space saying things like ‘I needed to see this today’, ‘if you watch one video today, make it this’ and ‘share to save a life’ (I’m paraphrasing, obvs). That whole part of the show told us so much about the age and culture we live in, and how crowded our brains get with all this digital content. It’s really quite scary, when you think about it. At least, that’s what this social media addict drew from it…

A poignant moment for me was when the cast all gathered together at the end to bow; it’s always a part of the show I look forward to because you’re given a glimpse of the people behind the characters, and for just a minute, you get to see how proud they are of what they’ve made together. This curtain call was especially magical to see, because the characters had all been through so much, and I felt they were so ‘together’ as they greeted the standing ovation (which was similar to Come From Away in how bloody FAST it happened!). Sam Tutty (Evan) also made me smile when he stuck his tongue out (in an exhausted-but-elated kind of way) as we applauded him. 

Also, I have just found out that last night was the debut of the new Heidi Hansen (Evan’s mum), Hannah Lindsey. I did wonder if she was a cover perhaps, because Tutty gave her a separate clap after he bowed, and slung a proud arm around her as they strolled offstage together – but no, it was her first time! Hannah, you were breathtaking. Honestly. Your scenes hit me hardest, I think. 

Thank you so much to Seatplan for the tickets to this brilliant production. Readers, if you want to see this show, it's booking until May this year and I really, really advise that you get on it ASAP. And when you've seen it, let's discuss it at length because I have so many feelings...! 


  1. I would love to see this! I’m not sure if I’ll get in before the end of its run, but I’m tempted to drop some hints before my birthday in April...! I’m glad you had a great time! :-) xxx


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