Last time it was former Coronation Street actor turned pop star, Adam
Rickett, who provided the celebrity billing, playing Roger's flatmate and
wannabe film-maker Mark. Now, he's been replaced by superb young newcomer
Dougal Irvine while supermodel Caprice heads the bill as bisexual
performance artist Maureen.
Those who know the show will be aware that the success of the story hardly
stands or falls on Maureen's character, but it would be churlish not to rate
the model's performance. As an actress she's adequate, and for one brief
moment, I thought her singing was almost passable.
But Maureen is in the unfortunate position of singing her main number
alongside her girlfriend Joanne, in "Take Me or Leave Me", and when the
tremendous Wendy Mae Brown opens her mouth to belt out her bit
as Joanne, one realises just how inadequate Caprice really is. In terms of vocal power, this is diva versus dishcloth and you can't help but wonder, not for the first time, why producers continue to book celebrity tat over sheer talent.
Nevertheless, the rest of the company is outstanding, whether in the
beautiful ensemble showstopper "Seasons of Love", which never fails to bring
the house down, Flood's emotive "One Song Glory", Rand's exquisite reprise
of "I'll Cover You", Kurup's heartbreaking "Goodbye Love" or the powerful
anthem "La Vie Boheme".
Rent is a terrific show which fully deserves its cult status, and Larson's book and score, while by no means flawless, are entertaining and provocative.
Kerryson avoids the pitfalls of over-angsting the story or veering towards
sentimentality, and manages to shift seamlessly between the comic and the
tragic. Karl Pendlebury's six-piece band is suitably powerful and
Kentaur 's semi-industrial set is beautifully lit by Chris Ellis.
If you missed out in the past, don't miss out on Rent this time - supposedly it's last in the West End. Tremendous.