|Date||3rd October 2015|
|Venue||The Brindley, Runcorn|
|Type of Production||Musical|
Author: Jenny King
I think that this is the first time that I have been to see a show performed by Encore Productions. It proved to be an excellent evening’s entertainment.
Rent is set in the East Village of New York and tells the story of a year in the life of a group of Bohemians; their poverty, protests, love and AIDS. The show opens with Rent, which was powerfully sung by all the cast.
The set was stark and very simple, just wire mash barriers covered in posters and leaflets with candles and chairs moved around to create the different scenes- it worked really well. I especially liked the padlock round the panel to represent the locked door with the cast walking over it to re-enter Mark and Roger’s apartment.
Kit Phillips as Mark Cohen and Mark Farrent as Roger Davies worked really well together, both had excellent vocals throughout the show, as did Natalie Hayes (Mimi Marquez). Her version of “Light My Candle” was great. The protestor Maureen Johnson, played by Claire Cannon, was a very strong character as was her partner Joanne Jefferson (played by Becca Hatch) whos “Tango Maureen” with Mark Cohen was one of the highlights of the evening.
For me personally, Chris Fox as Tom Collins and Gary Jones McCaw as Angel Dumott Schunard were totally brilliant, bringing humour, sadness and a sense of reality to their roles. Gary’s singing of “Today For U” was fantastic and their duet “I’ll Cover You” was truly moving.
There were some lighter moments during the production- I especially enjoyed the “parents” song, imploring their offspring to contact them.
It has been very difficult for me to mention individuals in this production as every member of the cast was strong. The vocals were fantastic, led by a group of onstage musicians- Wayne Oakes (keyboard), Mike Ciaputa (guitar), Kevin Bates (bass) and George Grundy (drums) along with rehearsal accompanist Sarah Graham.
Dargie Lynch is Encore’s new Stage Director, he has certainly created a first class production of Rent.
Congratulations to all concerned.