RENT - Edinburgh Fringe Review (Edinburgh University Footlights)

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Photo credits: Edinburgh University Footlights

I'd never seen or listened to RENT before going to this production. Sure, I knew "Seasons of Love" but that's essentially the same as liking oxygen if you're involved with anything vaguely related to theatre.

Something needs to be said for the casting. RENT is one of the very few musicals that I've ever seen account for lead male bass parts. Two of the bass characters were played by obvious tenors. I thought this was a shame as bass parts are so rare. This is not a comment on the quality of the actors, rather on the roles they were cast in. There were moments, like for Fraser Mycroft's "Tom" at Angel's Funeral, where his incredible voice shone through, but for the most part, he was not given the opportunity. Gordon Stackhouse as "Angel" was also great but perhaps the writing wasn't perfect for his voice at times.

Imogen Challen stood out as "Maureen". Her performance was wonderful and captivating. By the same stretch, Mimi Joffroy made my jaw drop during her solo in "Seasons of Love". Anna Steen's "Joanne" was a powerful character that stole the stage every time she was there. I've seen her perform in other shows and this was, by far, her strongest role.

Our 3 leads: Roger, Mark and Mimi, played by Ben Gruenberg, Adam Makepeace and Rachael Brown respectively were all very very good. I'd say that Mimi was the highlight, but both lead males were very good, perhaps suffering from unideal voices for the roles at times, but nothing major.

Overall, RENT is a nearly flawless production. As I mentioned, some of the casting may have been misjudged, which, again, is not a comment on the quality of the performers. It was also far too long to not have an interval, and the combination of these two factors bring it down from a 5 star, to a 4.5.

Verdict: ★★★★½

RENT has finished it's run at the Edinburgh Fringe now, but make sure to follow Edinburgh University Footlights on social media to see where they go next.


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