RENT – Marie Clark Musical TheatreReviewed by Kerry Cooper
Loosely based on the opera La Boheme, the rock-musical Rent follows the lives of a bunch of aspiring artists living in New York City. Music and lyrics written by the late Jonathon Larson paid homage to the impoverished struggling youth of the late nineties.
Under multi-talented director Mark Stefanoff, this production captures a moment in time when youth were battling the emergence of HIV/AIDS. Stefanoff is able to encapsulate the vulnerability and fear of a defiant generation and weave love, friendship and acceptance through every production number. His performance as Angel is nothing short of breathtaking. Angus Birdseye as Collins displayed a lovely chemistry with love-interest Angel.
There was an abundance of talent adorning the stage. Every player sang with sass and confidence and evoked rapturous applause from the audience. Damien Quick as film-maker Mark was strong as he documented the challenges within his group of friends. Tortured soul and rock star wannabe Roger was brought to life by Anton Schrama, his inner demons evident as he struggled to accept his diagnosis. Jennifer Trijo as Mimi was fabulous and flirty, with a voice that brought the house down. Her duet with Schrama ‘Without You’ was moving.
The powerful performances did not stop there; Fiona Delaine as Maureen was hilariously naughty and her love interest Joanne played by Sarah Whitely demonstrated her extensive vocal range.
Some innovative choreography by Nina Richards and a rocking band, headed by Ben Stefanoff, added an urban vibe that never left the stage. This show about love and loss is not to be missed.