GT Stage

Review: RENT

We get up close and personal with RENT

Set in the bohemian East Village region of New York City in the early 90s, RENT follows the lives of a group of friends through their challenges of addiction, sexuality, loss, deprivation and living with AIDS.

This new, gritty approach under the direction of Adam Scown showcases a cast of performers who shine both individually and as an ensemble. With powerful voices and strong stage presence, their portrayals of such modern day issues are triumphant, taking you through laughter and heartbreak. John Sanberg (Roger), captures your attention with strong vocals, as does Charlie Royce (Mark), while Jodie Steele (Mimi) brings a huge amount of sex appeal to this
rock musical.

And a note to gay men - if the female anatomy scares you, shield your eyes! The emotional and realistic depiction of both same-sex couples, Tom and Angel (Michael Quinn, William Whelton) and Joanne and Maureen (Amber Casserotti, Kirby Lunn) brought a heartwarming energy to the evening through their strong rapport.

This intimate, pub-theatre venue works well for this show, opening up a connection with the characters and subject matter. However, on occasion, this small space seems overcrowded and too busy for an audience to appreciate what is in front of them and can sometimes restrict movement within the performance.

But clever choreography in 'La Vie Bohème' and a fiery exchange in 'Tango: Maureen' will leave you smiling. It is rare to see such flair in a theatre space so small - even more rare to see a bold musical like RENT performed in such a space so well. The company use what is available to them with great success, proving you don't need flashy set pieces when you are met with such talent. We look forward to seeing what comes next for these performers.

GT gives it: 4/5

To pick up tickets, visit
The Tabard theatre website.

Words: Benjamin Hardie

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