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 http://www.rentonstage.co.uk.