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Theatre Review: Rent - Greenwich Theatre ✭✭✭✭

RENT
Greenwich Theatre

For those of us who already know and love Jonathan Larson’s Tony Award winning musical ‘RENT’, this production by director Paul Taylor Mills, did not disappoint.

Far from replicating the well known performances of the Broadway cast, this ensemble made the roles completely their own. There were stella performances all round, but the darling of the story, Angel, was played to notable perfection by Gary Wood who seemed to embody the character rather than act it. And how could we not mention Maeve Byrne who delivered the reprise of Seasons Of Love with the surprising magnificence of fireworks out of a party popper.

I was worried as I tubed across London, that such a huge production might have felt cramped on Greenwich Theatres’ relatively small stage. But a tip of the hat goes to David Shields who used the limited space to it’s full potential, designing a stage which evoked the crowded, industrial flavour of New York loft blocks. 

Benjamin Stratton (Mark)
Edward Handoll (Roger)
Photo: Claire Bilyard
The overall production design had a raw edge to it entirely appropriate to the musicals tone and temperature. Ladders up to lighting rigs, smoke machines fully visible to the auditorium, all stylised decisions that fed into RENT’s over arching theme; the search for raw truth in your art. Up center stage was completely exposed, housing the band which played Larson’s incredible score in full view of the audience- a beating heart in the middle of the action.

The layers and levels of the skeleton set provided every scene throughout the story. One minute a balcony, the next a strip club podium, the cast flew round the scaffolding with smooth expertise under the choreography guidance of Richard Jones.

The task of fitting such a huge production into a limited space and time slot, was comfortably achieved by the company. The ensemble mastered the space, filling it up and thinning it out between numbers in seamless fashion. They lead you by the hand through the production, never once floundering or dipping in energy.

Fully deserved of their standing ovation, these guys would have no trouble holding their own on London’s Shaftesbury Avenue.

4 out of 5 stars ✭✭✭✭

Review by Sassy Clyde

LISTINGS INFO

Rent

Greenwich Theatre
Crooms Hill
LONDON
SE10 8ES

Box Office: 020 8858 7755

Wednesday 5 – Sunday 16 September

Tuesday - Saturday at 7.30pm

Sunday 16 December at 6.00pm

No show Sunday 9th September or Monday 10th September

HOW TO GET THERE

Buses: 
177, 180, 188, 199, 286, 386, M1, M2, N1 

DLR/Tube: 
Greenwich and Cutty Sark stations, for Lewisham, Canary Wharf (for Jubilee line), Bank (for Northern line), and Stratford.

Mainline Rail: 
Greenwich Station for Charing Cross, Cannon Street, London Bridge, Deptford, and out towards Kent

Riverboat: 
Services arrive and depart from Greenwich Pier

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