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Dear Evan Hansen: second time is still a charm

This review is going to be bias. Dear Evan Hansen has always been one of my most favorite musical of all time. A lot of the songs from this musical have been in almost all my frequent playlist, used in my singing lessons, and sung as my go-to karaoke songs multiple times. I have already seen this musical with this almost-exactly-similar cast once when it first came to London in early 2020. From that visit, I cried in both acts, and fallen in love with the show even more. When I was back in London this time, DEH is on my list as the only show that I’m re-watching again in this trip – and after this time, there is no doubt that it is going to be my

ritual every time I’m visiting London as long as it’s still running on West End.

There are minor changes in this musical that made the show more palatable to the audience. When it first came to London, I recalled that the overall vibe was much heavier with less comedic conversation and acting. I think this was added to Evan’s role, and though at first it made me raised my eyebrows a bit in the beginning, I came to appreciate them more when the mode dramatic numbers hit. I also love the more dramatic stumbles and falls at the beginning for You Will Be Found number – it made the come back much more powerful in my opinion.

Sam Tutty has gotten even better after his Olivier Award! I was very happy when he won the Olivier Award for Best Actor, though I would also be equally happy if the leading actor from Mary Poppins won – they are equally great. However, part of me also doubted whether he will put less effort in his role now that he has received a big award and has played his role for such a long period of time already. However, he proved me wrong. While I can’t say that the overall acting become more realistic given the comedic dialogues and moments being added, the emotional parts were much more powerful – especially now that I can clearly see his eyes and facial expression. Word Fails and So Big So Small are the two numbers where he really shines acting wise, and the narration at the epilogue was spot on. I don’t think I need to comment on his vocal – perfect as always.

As I grew older, I’m less irritated by the plot of this musical. I used to be a bit frustrated by the fact that Evan never gets punished by his deception, and I think many people and musical and film critics have the same issue. However, as I grew older and been through quite a few emotional and psychological turbulence of my own, I also grew to have less issue or even no issue with this plot point. While I still think what Evan did is definitely wrong, I also believe that Evan is not a bad person inherently (selfish yes, but not evil). Given his nature, if I were in his shoes, I definitely would be heavily burdened and even more psychologically problemed by how all these turned out, especially the reactions from the Murphy, who he grew very close to. Also, he also had quite a bit of change of heart and minor consequence with his delay in attending university, which, to some people, this may seem to be normal.

DEH will continue to have a special place in my heart. I walked out of the theatre being even more moved by this musical than the first time watched the show (and also purchased more stuff from the shop haha). Regardless of how people say that the numbers from DEH is cliché, I still feel that You Will Be Found and So Big So Small will always have a special place in my heart.

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