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14:11 | 29th June 2017

Reviews: Live Shows

Sat 8 Sep, 2012
By Robert Ingham


rousing musical numbers that bring an audience roaring to their feet in approval

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Rent - Theatre Review

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Rent, about a group of young artists and musicians living in New York and struggling to follow their dreams under the shadow of HIV and AIDS, has been produced tirelessly up and down the country. It seems there is an unending thirst for this show which is based on Puccini’s opera ‘La Boheme’ – mostly thanks to the rousing musical numbers that bring an audience roaring to their feet in approval.

So it is this new production from Paul Taylor Mills which is rocking Greenwich Theatre until 16th September, and whilst it doesn’t bring anything particularly new, it remains mostly faithful to the script and is a pleasure to watch.

There are some incredibly strong performances throughout, with standouts being Zoe Birkett, who powerhouses through the part of Maureen, and Jamie Birkett who captures the essence of Joanne perfectly, desperate to keep hold of her outrageous girlfriend.

Their duet “Take Me Or Leave Me” was the highlight of the evening. Gary Wood, playing Angel, is immediately likeable and loveable, and Benjamin Stratton is well suited to the part of Mark.

The ensemble are excellent, taking on numerous roles with aplomb, with Maeve Byrne being one to look out for as she shone on “Seasons of Love” with an incredible vocal range – definitely leading lady material.

On the flip side, there were a few things that let the show down a little. This is a show with music played constantly but in moments of dialogue, the music should have been quieter as it drowned out the characters. This was especially noticed in “Take Me Out”, sung by Mimi (beautifully played by Steph Fearon), when the band overpowered Steph’s already powerful voice.

Paul Taylor Mills ably directs the cast, especially in the group numbers like “La Vie Boheme”, which had the audience dancing in their seats. It would have been lovely for Paul to create more chemistry between some of the leads, but there is no doubt that future performances will iron this out.

All these aside, there are some really touching moments throughout that bring a tear to the eye and a lump to the throat. An enjoyable evening out that will make you fall in love with the soundtrack all over again.

Rent is on at the Greenwich Theatre 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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