Dear Evan Hansen review – satanically ingenious musical is suffocatingly ersatz

Story of lonely boy who feigns friendship with a dead peer has a smart premise but is wretchedly executedBy the end of its long running time, there’s something entirely unbearable about this pass-agg weepie teen-empathy musical, adapted from the 2015 stage hit.

And that’s despite a satanically ingenious high-concept premise involving a letter of which even the great romdram novelist Nicholas Sparks, author of Message in a Bottle, might approve.Ben Platt reprises his Broadway performance as Evan Hansen, the wretchedly lonely and unpopular high-schooler, nursing a broken arm in a cast and on all sorts of anxiety medication, whose therapist has got him writing tragically upbeat letters to himself, beginning “Dear Evan Hansen”.

One day in a fit of gloomy honesty he types out a letter to himself in the first person, saying just how horrible his life is, rashly prints it out at school and the

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