Rent The Musical, Curve Theatre, 1st April 2017.
Purchasing the U26 Membership at Curve when I first moved to Leicester was probably the best idea I had all year, I got tickets for Rent in the middle of the stalls for £15 each. Bargain. You can’t go wrong. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a musical, as soon as I saw this one advertised I knew I had to go and see it. I love the film adaptation of Rent (which has most of the original Broadway cast) so if you haven’t seen it, definitely go and give it a watch!
Warning: This review will contain spoilers.
First of all, the whole production was absolutely phenomenal. I knew I loved the film, but now my love for the whole show is on another level. The casting was on point. The only issue I had was Ryan O’Gorman as Tom Collins, it just wasn’t right. I don’t know if it’s just because he wasn’t black, which probably sounds bad but it’s true, but it didn’t feel as well cast as the other characters who I felt were all spot on. Having said that, by the end of Act 2 I’d forgotten about it and he totally grew on me and is a fantastic actor, don’t get me wrong. Layton Williams as Angel was the most perfect casting I’ve ever seen. He did it so amazingly well, he slayed from start to finish, especially in Today 4 U which was one of my favourite numbers.
The set and lighting were impressive too, the moveable set was inventive and served it’s purpose really well. The lighting didn’t distract but enhanced everything else wonderfully. Basically I don’t have a single bad word to say about any of it, if you hadn’t guessed that by now.
In the film I’d never really paid that much attention to the choreography, but in this production you can’t not notice it. The group numbers were particularly powerful and impressive, La Vie Boheme definitely sticks out, it was such a strong moment. And not just in the actual movement content but also the use of the set and props combined within it as well. It all just tied together nicely and everything was on point. The only slight criticism I have is that in Tango Maureen there wasn’t enough tango content! But obviously it’s such a high impact and full on number for them that it’s understandable that they can’t whack out a full on tango routine at the same time as belting the lyrics. Another minimal critique is Santa Fe, which is one of my favourite numbers in the film because of the dancing on the subway, although the choreography isn’t complicated it’s effective and I felt that was missed. I also think I was slightly let down by that because of the casting of Collins.
Over The Moon was another number that stood out. At first I thought I’d be disappointed by anyone other than Idina Menzel playing Maureen, but Christina Modestou did a fantastic job, especially as she was filling in for Lucie Jones (who thinking about it now, I don’t think would’ve done as good a job, but maybe that’s because I can still only associate her with singing Camp Rock on The X Factor). For anyone that hasn’t seen the stage show, this scene is completely different from the movie and it was so much more powerful. I can’t tell you how happy I was when the audience starting mooing with her (you’ll only get that if you’ve seen it). It was a marvellous moment. There was just so much energy and her vocals were incredible.
Take Me or Leave Me was so much more dramatic and sassy I loved it. The vocals again, were amazing and you could really feel the energy and dynamics between them.
Angel’s death scene was so unbelievably beautiful, from the decision to have Collins undress him and into the hospital gown on stage. I also really liked the transition scene where he’s actually dying, the dance sequence was brilliant and I wasn’t expecting it. And then as he walks over the bridge on set dressed in white and stands watching over the funeral scene like an actual angel. It was so touching. Angel was my favourite character before, but even more so now and I’m so happy the casting was right. It was beautiful.
From that point onward it went so quickly, I was so engrossed it flew by and the finale was happening before I knew it. I was just blown away by the whole thing, it was so much better and more powerful and heart breaking than I imagined and just made me love it even more. I’m really annoyed we chose to see it on the last night in Leicester because I will jump at the chance to see it again. I’m obsessed.
Follow this link to book your tickets or find out more, I cannot recommend it enough!
Much Love x