Dear Evan Hansen, Noel Coward Theatre | Review

December 28, 2019

Dear Evan Hansen
Noel Coward Theatre
Reviewed by Mia Goddard

Dear Evan Hansen is the story of a lonely, socially awkward boy trying to fit in to a world that’s always left him on the outside, by deceiving his way into a grieving family dynamic. After its debut in 2016, this Tony Award winning musical has proven a sell-out hit in London’s West End, by tackling themes related to social media, suicide and teen anxiety. 

For this performance, Evan was played by alternate Marcus Harman and he was an absolute delight. Harman portrayed the vulnerability of Evan perfectly as his anxiety is seen throughout his whole body, with the constant fidgeting and nervous twitch, and the hesitation in his voice. He also manages to inject humour into his performance and his vocals are nothing short of fascinating. It’s hard to believe that this show marks his professional stage debut – he is simply phenomenal.

Lucy Anderson’s Zoe is also a standout performance. She is able to capture the heartache of a grieving sister caught up in discovering a brother she never really knew, and Requiem is beautifully performed. 

Rebecca McKinnis’s portrayal of Evan’s mother, Heidi, highlights the character’s fear and sadness as she struggles with the thought that despite her right choices, she feels she is failing her son. She is also strong in conveying the love a mother has for her son, and So Big / So Small brought a real tear to my eye.

Lauren Ward and Rupert Young as the grieving parents of Connor perfectly convey the desolation and heartbreak over losing a child whilst Jack Loxton’s brings a lot of comedy as the troublesome Jared. Nicole Raquel Dennis also brings humour to an otherwise traumatic story along with her exquisite vocals as Alana, and Doug Colling clearly demonstrates Connor’s troubles and feelings of social rejection.

The technical elements of the show were simple yet effective. The use of set pieces instead of a literal set allowed the social media screens to be in constant view through projections, instantly attracting a modern audience. The use of projection here reflects Evan’s situation and his own state of mind, and serves as a constant reminder of the influence that social media can have on everyday life.

With music and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul, this show has an outstanding score, and is a powerful and emotional production.

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