“In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife”
Just a brief note on Rent as it is closing tomorrow and sadly I could find
little constructive to say about it. I somehow have remained immune to the
charms of Jonathan Larson’s show despite it gaining a fanatical following
amongst some and so the prospect of seeing it filled me with much less
anticipation than it did my companions for the evening. And for me, Paul
Taylor-Mills’ production at the Greenwich Theatre did little to convince me to
change my mind.
A 90s pop-rock updating of Puccini’s La Bohème, the focus becomes a
community of bohemians in New York’s Lower East Side as HIV/AIDS spreads its
lethal influence as they all struggle to hold onto their dreams. There’s undoubtedly
a dated feel to the material, something exacerbated by the low budget design of
set and costume which feels rough around the edges but not in a way which
really worked with the show.
And though there are some performances are strong, Birketts Zoe and Jamie,
Benjamin Stratton and Edward Standoll all had moments for me, there’s an
accompanying rawness to much of the portrayals – not helped by the most
substantial of writing it must be said – which felt incomplete rather than
fresh. With an oppressive sound design and random directorial choices, this was
not a good night at the theatre for me.
Running time: 2 hours
Booking until 16th September
Labels: Benjamin Stratton, David Hinton-Gale, Edward Handoll, Gary Wood, Jamie Birkett, Maeve Byrne, Mikel Sylvanus, Natalie McQueen, Steph Fearon, Zoe Birkett