Tuesday night- An often uneventful evening. However, the matching hoodies and collective exhaustion of a body of talented individuals could be sighted throughout the school during the day. Paired with an underlying excitement, this could have signified only one thing: Tuesday was the opening night of the much anticipated joint-production of Rent. Responding to this anticipation, the performance that took place reached high expectations and even exceeded them.
Following a group of friends based in East Village (New York City) and living the Bohemian life, we see their lives spiral out over the course of a year amidst the suffering of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1990s. Serving as our narrator and door into the lives of these individuals is Mark Cohen (David Noble), as aspirational filmmaker who at first introduces us to his roommate Roger Davis (Daniel Carter). Here we see a HIV positive musician trying to write that one last good song that will allow him to leave behind a legacy, before a range of other cast members find their way onto the stage and into the story. This includes Mimi Marquez (Caitlin Davis), Maureen Johnson (Libby Crombie), Joanne Jefferson (Kyla Thomas), and Benjamin Coffin III (Sam Spencer).
A fan favourite would certainly be Angel (Connor Johnson), whose presence on the stage is able to bring a smile to anyone’s face- Including those who are normally against watching musicals (myself included, but now that is going to have to be an opinion I reconsider after this performance). Alongside Tom Collins (Cameron Wedd), we find a perfect pair.
For those of you with little knowledge of the musical other than the song ‘Seasons of Love’ (you know, the ‘525,600 minutes’ one), I urge you to pay attention to the spellbinding performances of ‘Tango Maureen’, ‘Will I’, ‘Over The Moon’ and of course, ‘La Vie Boheme’.
A special mention goes specifically to ‘Will I’. With the AIDS epidemic being such a central background linked to many of the characters in this show, the raw emotion and pain of the portrayed individuals suffering from such a life changing disease carries through to produce a memorable performance that leaves a lasting impression.
With tickets being only £8, this is a show that you would be crazy to miss. This is especially so when noting the amount of work that such a talented ensemble put into this production. So, what are waiting for? Take your family and friends out tonight!
Can’t attend? Then there is still something important that you must do: Visit the National AIDS Trust website and show your support by donating as much as you can. No cure exists for HIV and AIDS (the latter being a set of symptoms and illness that occurs in the final stage of HIV) so it is a necessity to ensure that networks and funding can be put in place to allow individuals suffering from the virus to live happy and fulfilling lives, and to help remove the societal stigma attached to HIV.
By Rebecca Warburton
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