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Sat 8 Sep, 2012
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The ensemble were superb, pulling off many characters and showing a strong sense of friendship and camaraderie

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Rent - theatre review

Rent shows us a snapshot of the late 1980s, a community living on the edge, on the margins; outside of the greed and wealth of Wall Street, living in the shadow of AIDS, drug addiction and poverty.


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Rent - theatre review

Rent shows us a snapshot of the late 1980s, a community living on the edge, on the margins; outside of the greed and wealth of Wall Street, living in the shadow of AIDS, drug addiction and poverty. Yet within this environment, fun, hope and love can still shine through; worth is not found in money and possessions but in other people. Greenwich Theatre's version of Rent touched on these issues and delivered a competent rendition of Jonathan Larson's musical.


There were some great performances from the cast.

Zoe Birkett gave a spirited and convincing performance as Maureen, particularly in her first on-stage moment in Over the Moon. Her relationship with Jamie Birkett, a good and well rounded Joanne, was the clearly the strongest of the show. Benjamin Stratton, as Mark, suited the role and gave a tender portrayal of someone who doesn't quite fit in; his voice was strong but there were times it was overpowered and lost amongst the band and larger ensemble numbers. Roger, played by Edward Handoll, another great voice and showed himself to be a capable actor; it would have been great to have seen more of the angst ridden, down at heal, 1980s rock songwriter. Mimi (Steph Fearon) handled the sassy, sexiness of her character and held focus in some challenging dance routines.


Angel (Gary Wood) gave a strong performance and commanded the stage, although there was scope to bring more flamboyance and celebrate the character’s 'devil may care' attitude. Mikel Sylvanus, as Collins, occasionally seemed ill at ease playing his lover, but his voice was a joy to listen to. Each of the main protagonists delivered a good solid character, even though there were moments where the relationships between them could have more intensity.



The ensemble were superb, pulling off many characters and showing a strong sense of friendship and camaraderie. The set piece numbers of “La Vie Boheme” and “Seasons of Love” shone out and Maeve Byrne was incredible to watch taking the lead in Seasons.



The lighting in the first act sometimes did not complement the mood on stage and general washes during more intimate moments made it hard to connect to the more emotional scenes. This was resolved in the second act, however, where the lighting and story worked well together. The band was strong and confident but occasionally swamped the performers so characters with smaller voices or softer roles, such as Mark, disappeared. This was a shame because when all the cast could be heard they had great voices. I am sure this is something that will be successfully handled in future performances.


The performers gave their all and were rightly applauded for their efforts. A few tweaks with the sound and lighting and this show will enjoy a run to be proud of. If this is the first time you have seen Rent you will have a great night.


Rent is on at the Greenwich Theatre, Croom's Hill, SE10 8ES until 16th September.
www.greenwichtheatre.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1128:rent&catid=7:playingnow&Itemid=1

 

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