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Rent

Date

23rd April 2019

Society

High Flying Theatre Productions

Venue

Halifax Playhouse

Type of Production

Musical

Director

James and Vanessa Buckley

Musical Director

Luke Robbins-Ross

Choreographer

James Buckley/Alex Craig

Producer

James and Vanessa Buckley

Report

Author: Jacqui Hartley

'Rent' the rock musical premiered on Broadway on January 25th 1996 in Nederlander Theatre and ran for twelve years, with the music, lyrics and book by Jonathan Larson.  This musical was loosely based on Giacomo Puccini's Opera La Boheme.

It deals with love, loss and AIDS, the modern day Rent tells the story of one year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists struggling to survive living their "Bohemian" life style under the shadow on HIV/AIDS in Lower Manhattan's East Village New York City in 1989-1990.  The story runs from one Christmas Eve to the next.

This was a very brave choice for High Flying Productions especially with all the trials and tribulations it brought, apparently the cast had 4 Mark's, 2 Angel's, 3 Roger's, 3 Mimi's, 4 Collin's, 4 Benny's, 2 Maureen's, and 3 Joanne's  BUT what a fantastic cast they ended up with every character gave 110%.

There were many powerful relationships in this story Tom Collins, (Leon Kay) and Angel Dumott Schunard, (James Buckley) a Transgender street musician, both infected with HIV+ gave brilliant performances, and Angel's death scene was very emotional and poignant.  Mimi Marquez and Roger Davis, (Hattie Dibb, Lewis Day) another excellent challenging partnership that also included a near death scene. Maureen Johnson, (Samantha Armitage) Jonne Jefferson, (Nikki-Lee Clarke) the on/off lovers delivered excellent character performances with strong singing vocals.  Marck Cohen, (Richard Peralta) virtually held the friends together and narrated the story with a confident and commanding performance.  Benjamin Coffin 111, (Djo Fisher) portrayed his character well.

The basic set was on two levels, with scaffolding and steps at one side, the Quartet under the baton of Luke Robbins-Ross never intrudered on the fabulous singing.

A superb production of a very difficult show, congratulations to Directors Vanessa and James.