REVIEW: Rent The Musical at Festival Theatre, Malvern


Rent The Musical is currently doing a special 20th anniversary UK tour and I was able to catch it at my local theatre in Malvern.

For anybody who doesn’t know what Rent is about, it is a fabulous show with music and lyrics by the amazing Jonathan Larson. When I say ‘show’, I do not mean jazz hands and cheesy tap numbers. In a nutshell, Rent covers the story of a group of struggling people who to put it frankly can’t afford to pay rent. But alongside this they suffer the harsh streets of New York being affected by things like AIDS and drugs. So it’s not all ‘song and dance’ (well, you know what I mean), but in the end it’s quite uplifting as you see how the story unfolds and how they all stick together and rely on each other to get by.

The show had an absolutely star studded cast with the likes of Lucie Jones (X Factor, Les Miserables, Legally Blonde), Layton Williams (Bad Education, Billy Elliot, Hairspray) and Philippa Stefani (Most known for playing Daniela in In The Heights) and they all did an unbelievable job!

Lucie Jones was brilliant as Maureen! Her attitude as the character was perfect for the role and she has a power voice! The duet she sings with her on stage partner Joanne ‘Take Me or Leave Me’ wowed the audience and really show cased her talent! She rocked it!

The character of Angel Schunard was portrayed amazingly by Layton Williams. He absolutely slayed the role as Angel. I had only really seen him dance prior to this so I was unsure what to expect from his performance of numbers like ‘Today 4 U’ and ‘Contact’ but I was very impressed! I feel like he embraced the role and gave it his all.

Layton was paired with Ryan O’Gorman playing Angels lover Tom Collins and I was actually pleasantly surprised by this duo. Ryans voice was so smooth and soulful, it really suited the character well.

After only seeing Philippa Stefani play Daniela (‘In The Heights’), watching her as Mimi was a completely different experience I suppose for Philippa and the audience. Her acting was incredible, it appeared she really threw herself in to the role and the emotion was spot on. Sassy and sexy at times, right through to being upset and crying which made my heart go out to her.

After seeing this show you can only be left in awe of what you have just witnessed. I was so happy I finally got to see it live and if you get the chance, I would highly recommend it. For future tour dates and venues please visit the website


Charlie xoxo








Happy new year! As we head into 2017 (what am I saying, it’s the ninths as I write this), I decided to count down my top 10 shows of 2016.

9. Legally Blonde, Curve Theatre Leicester

Legally Blonde is a really feel-good show. I’d already seen it once before, but I was extremely hungry for more Elle Woods so I travelled to Leicester to see the show with Charlie. The show was absolutely amazing, it was completely different to the original Broadway, London and tour productions. 

8. Hand To God, Vaudeville Theatre London

Hand To God is an extremely funny play set in a small American town. It centres on a group of young Christian children, including Timothy, his mother, and the pastor. When Timothy’s hand puppet gets possessed, hilarity ensues. I loved this play so much, I wish I saw it more.

7. Spamalot, Kings Theatre Portsmouth

Spamalot is definitely not the best show out there. In fact, I was never really bothered about seeing this until a local theatre group put it on. The theatre group is one of the best in the area. The production was incredibly high quality and music, set, lighting and direction were some of the best I’ve seen for an amateur production. 

6. Kinky Boots, Adelphi Theatre London

2016 was the year of Kinky Boots. Both me and Charlotte saw the show in 2016, and we loved every minute. From the opening to the finale, Kinky Boots has you dancing in your seat and smiling the whole way through. Matt Henry is amazing as Lola and so was Killian Donnelly as Charlie. I think it may be time I booked another trip to the Price and Son factory.

5. The Bodyguard, Dominion Theatre London

I usually HATE Jukebox musicals so I wasn’t too excited to see this show, but am I glad I got tickets! The shows energy was up high the whole way throughout and Whitney’s songs were transferred gorgeously through the show.

4. In The Heights, Kings Cross Theatre London

In The Heights is one of Lin Manuel-Miranda’s masterpieces. I saw it in April of 2016, and twice in January of 2017, even closing night. I SAW LIN! (Video here) But this show is such a gorgeous show about family and that is really shown within the cast. They’re so close they could be a family!

3., National Theatre London

This show got really bad reviews. I kind of see why but for the most part I loved this show! The use of technology was gorgeous and the original music by Damon Albarn really helped bring the story of Alice In Wonderland into the 21st Century. It’s such a shame that the cast recording doesn’t sound good…at all. I was extremely excited for the cast recording too.

2. Lift, Stage Door Southampton

Lift was done so well it’s hard to be forgotten. I didn’t expect this quality or talent from a small amateur musical theatre group in Southampton. The music was flawless as was the acting and the staging. It’s a shame that the actors weren’t wearing mics.

  1. Side Show, Southwark Playhouse London

Side Show was literally the best show I saw last year. I saw it three times and honestly…three times wasn’t enough. I loved the whole show start to finish. Louise Dearman and Laura Pitt-Pulford as conjoined twins?! Sign me up!

I hope you enjoyed my top 10 of 2016!

Nathan xoxo