Rent recently marked its 24th anniversary since its Broadway opening. Every year I try to write something. This year, in particular, it seemed important to.
And so here it is… my top 10 musicals of the decade. It turned out to be a slightly emotional journey. But it turns out musicals meant a lot in that time and I’ll fight anyone who says musicals aren’t a serious artform.
I’ve spent this last couple of weeks thinking about Rent a lot. It’s not unusual to think about Rent. For me it’s always kind of there, in the background.
Youthful energy and intelligent direction burn brightly in this exhilarating new production of evergreen modern classic Rent in Melbourne.
Rent is a timeless story and this Vivo D’Arte production is well worth the trip to the Frogmore Paper Mill, Apsley to see it.
There are, of course, a range of new shows to choose from – both in and out of London. Pigspurt’s Daughter (by Ken Campbell’s daughter Daisy) plays at Hampstead’s Downstairs venue, Honey will be performed at The Cockpit, Boxman and Where the Hell is Bernard? both run at the Blue Elephant Theatre.
An evening at Symphony Hall is one never to be missed, it’s one of my favourite venues. An evening in the company of musical theatre and film star, Idina Menzel, was also an evening full of promise.
If you’re a theatre fan then I’m sure you’ve heard of Idina Menzel. The last time she played the glorious Royal Albert Hall, she was known among the theatre community for creating the roles of Maureen in Rent and Elphaba in Wicked but since then has reached a stratospheric level of fame.
As I write this, the curtain is about to rise on the first major revival of Angels in America in nearly a decade, it’s the fastest selling show in the National Theatre’s history and it’s got a cast of stars (Andrew Garfield, Denise Gough, Nathan Lane, Russell Tovey) who frankly are making it a pretty big deal.
Sharp, powerful and moving, Jonathan Larson’s musical is still as relevant as ever as Bruce Gutherie’s heart wrenching production proves from beginning to end. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, RENT is brought to pulsating life once more in Brice Gutherie’s production.
There is plenty of energy and spectacle in Bruce Guthrie’s 20th anniversary production of Rent, but it is too careful and just too clean to fully persuade.
It was at once like coming home to an old friend and falling in love all over again.This isn’t a review really, although I will write about the production, it’s my collection of thoughts, reflections and mostly feelings after returning to something tha…
The BBC has announced today that Lucie Jones is one of the six artists chosen to perform the songs competing for the UK’s entry into the Eurovision Song Contest.
I’ve personally seen 74 productions this year including some repeat visits, so how do I then pick just ten shows for a top 10?
St James Theatre, London
Music, lyrics and book by Jonathan Larson
Directed by Bruce Guthrie
The cast of Rent
This 20th anniversary production of Rent is a heart wrenching piece of theatre that beautifully touches on the key themes of love, loss, addiction and the fear of living as HIV positive. It is engaging, touching and thought provoking.
Performed countless times across the globe, Rent can often descend into a self-indulgent performers’ showcase. Bruce Guthrie’s take on the show however is heavy on integrity, with the director exploring the psyche of each character, making the performances both believable and relatable. Alongside, Lee Proud’s mesmerizing choreography fits perfectly with both style and era.
Amidst a stark and rough scaffolding-based set and with the full orchestra on display, Anna Fleischle’s designs create an edgy feel that is aesthetically challenging, leaving one to focus on the drama.
Mark Cohen as played by Billy Cullen is beautifully watchable, embodying his character’s drive to succeed in his work but also constantly sending out the signals of his desperate need to be accepted by his friends. Ross Hunter’s silky, effortless vocals as Rodger Davies are a joy. His performance engages throughout, convincing in the chemistry that sparkles between him and Philippa Stefani’s Mimi. Stefani may have just transferred over from In the Heights but here she’s a completely different woman, displaying a stunning depth and emotional range. Her unravelling on stage is almost elegant, depicting her character’s agonising flaws as she struggles with her addiction and its dangers.
Lucie Jones’ Maureen is an unconventional gem. Her cooky, charismatic and confident charm is so suited to the character that she doesn’t struggle once to deliver on Maureen’s obvious sexuality and allure. As always, Take Me Or Leave Me brings the house down with stunning vocals from both Jones and Shanay Holmes as Joanne. Their delivery is entirely narrative driven rather than just being the shouting match that the number can so often suggest, as they make the song an intimate and passionate breakdown of a relationship between two fiery women.
Now virtually sold out in London, the production is soon to tour and for both Rent-heads and newbies it’s a treat. The entire company are outstanding – vocally, choreographically and emotionally.
Reviewed by Charlotte DarcyRuns until 28th January 2017 – Then on tour. Tour details herePhoto credit: Johan Persson
Knowing that the whole run at St James Theatre to celebrate Rent’s 20th anniversary is sold out, I felt incredibly privileged to be able to see it. However, it made me question just why was this particular production so popular?
The year is rapidly coming to a close. But before it does, there are more great shows to see in the lead up to Christmas. Here is Love London Love Culture’s guide to some of the best shows opening in December 2016
When you think of the musical, Rent, written by Jonathan Larson, Seasons of Love springs to mind, immediately. However, the hard-hitting and modern-styled musical is packed with a range of musical numbers which are filled with angst, heart and impact.
After opening at Theatr Clwyd for a limited season from 21 October to 12 November 2016, RENT will go on a three-week tour, prior to a Christmas season at London’s St James Theatre from 8 December 2016 to 28 January 2017, with a national press night on Tuesday 13 December 2016. 2017 tour dates are to be announced. The new production will be directed by Bruce Guthrie.