Dear Evan Hansen: did words fail the critics on West End opening night?
The musical is currently booking until 2 May 2020 and stars Sam Tutty in the title role
Alex Wood, WhatsOnStage
"Steven Levenson's book and Benj Pasek and Justin Paul's score revel in being at odds with one another – the anxiety-inducing precariousness of Evan's deception (there's a creeping sense throughout that truth is seeping through the cracks) undercuts the joviality of the soaring, rousing numbers, especially the climactic end to act one when things begin falling apart during the triumphant "You Will Be Found".
"The result is something quite extraordinary – a musical not like any other. Director Michael Greif's staging is desperately, torturously uncomfortable at times, while other moments shimmer with genuine pathos."
Paul Taylor, The Independent
"A terrific, dignified performance by Rebecca McKinnis as Evan's mother – run ragged trying to juggle her job as a nurse and her night classes training to be a para-legal – makes you feel the hurt of being muscled out by his new moneyed substitute folks."
Michael Billington, The Guardian
"Mawkishness is also kept at bay by [Sam] Tutty's performance. Making his West End debut, he captures Evan's loneliness through an array of nervy smiles and hesitant gestures, and suggests his whole body could disintegrate at any moment: paradoxically, he conveys a lack of certainty with complete technical assurance and, when it comes to his solo numbers, proves he can really sing."
Alice Saville, Time Out
"...This story's biggest conflicts are internal, rather than external. It looks so simple but there's something incredibly accomplished about the way that ‘Dear Evan Hansen' fleshes out its lovable protagonist's small world of home, school and laptop – then creates a trap that feeds him and poisons him all at once."
Dominic Cavendish, The Telegraph
"Dear Evan Hansen, which premiered in 2015 and stormed Broadway the following year (winning six Tonys), gives voice to the angst of doubt-riddled adolescence, the flipside of the country's brutal winner-loser culture."
Clive Davis, The Times
"Benj Pasek and Justin Paul have fashioned a set of sophisticated and cathartic numbers. And although the ending feels slightly sentimental, Steven Levenson's book is still a courageous and often witty attempt to make sense of adolescent trauma."
Tim Bano, The Stage
"Lucy Anderson makes a striking professional debut as Evan's crush Zoe, and Rebecca McKinnis does strong work as Heidi Hansen, a single mum working as a nurse while taking evening classes in the hope of giving Evan a better life. McKinnis skilfully brings out the mixed-up emotions of the situation: guilt at being absent so often, love, worry. There's a particularly soul-baring performance from Lauren Ward as Connor's mum Cynthia."
Nick Curtis, Evening Standard
"The score and lyrics by Benj Pasek and Justin Paul – the team behind the earworm-farm soundtrack of The Greatest Showman – is surprisingly jaunty given the subject matter, but also contains enough piercing numbers to get the tears flowing, not least the devastatingly simple central anthem, "For Forever"."