Saturday, 4 May 2013

Measure in love... Rent Review

Last night the 20th Anniversary concert of Rent hit Glasgow and I think it's safe to say it made a lasting impact. Rent is set in East New York and tells the story of struggling artists trying to succeed, love and live each moment like it's their last.

As this was a concert and not a full production the set was simplified with the use of video projection to guide the audience through the story. If i'm honest I did not miss the elaborate sets as I feel this stripped back version allowed the audience to connect more with the characters and let them tell the story.

The casting for this show was just perfect. All of the actors worked well together but stood out when needed. I had some reservations about Kerry Ellis playing Mimi when the casting was first announced but I was pleasantly surprised by her performance. There's no denying she plays the role differently but I feel she really makes it her own and showed a more vulnerable and endearing side to Mimi that is often missed by others.

Another surprise for me was Rory Taylor. I hadn't seen any of ITV's Superstar, so I wasn't sure what to expect but he really nailed the role of musician Roger. His performance evoked a lot of empathy for the character and his voice was so well suited to the part.

Ian Stroughair tugged at every emotion I have playing drag queen and aids sufferer, Angel.  From laughing during 'Today For You', to crying as his story unfolds. Stroughair had a great balance, giving a very humorous performance but not glossing over the hard hitting problems Angel faces. 

For me the star of the night was Nikki Davis-Jones and her phenomenal portrayal of outrageous and flirtatious Maureen. She had the confidence of this character spot on and her vocals were fierce. She had complete control of the stage and even had the audience mooing along with her during 'Over The Moon'. Whoever was responsible for this casting is a genius.

For me seeing Rent in this style was a real treat. You really get to focus on the music and the fabulous cast. There was a clear connection with the audience and during the final number (Seasons of Love) every person was out of their seats and singing along. I wish it had a longer run as I would have loved to catch it again. Rent has 3 shows left. Grab the last remaining tickets if you can.

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