UCL’s production of Rent: A musical that will have you at the edge of your seat
The production is running from the 2 to 4 December at the Bloomsbury Theatre
After a long seven weeks of dedicated preparation, UCL’s production of Rent had its first opening night this Thursday. The Pulitzer Prize winning musical is one of the longest running shows on Broadway, after 12 years of running. It sets a high standard for UCL’s Evie Robinson to follow as the director, and she confidently surpassed expectations by far.
The musical is running at Bloomsbury Theatre from 2 to 4 December.
Rent follows the story of a group of young artists who struggle to make it in New York, as well as dealing with their own problems involving drug addiction, HIV, and financial stress. With the producer Seyi Osi being a queer woman herself, the directors’ goal was to give a platform to queer voices and tackle these prolific issues in a way that celebrates the community as a whole. It is an homage to the New York of the 90s, filled with references to the drag community, the LGBTQ scene and the city’s endless talented youth aspiring to make it big.
The production starts with a freezing Mark (Dave Quane) and Roger (Adam Haddour) respectively, struggling to keep warm in their New York apartment. They are followed by their old friend and now landlord, Benny (Theo Bailey), giving an ultimatum on their rent payment. The musical comes into full swing when we are introduced to Mimi (Lucy Deane), who portrays a drug addicted dancer. Deane plays up a timid side to Mimi, with a sweet and strong voice to match. The chemistry between Mimi and Roger is felt as we go deeper into the relationship between them, with the heart wrenching ballad Your Eyes leaving us teary eyed by the end.
As we meet more characters such as Angel (Jordan Lam), Maureen (Lottie Cousins), Joanne (Kristel Buckley) and Collins (Chris Lee) we truly understand how much raw talent the cast has. Cousins as Maureen is captivating, with her first solo leaving the whole audience in hysterics as she convincingly drinks milk from a metaphorical udder of a cow. It is here where we realise how much truly goes into a musical, as all dancing, acting and singing has got to be perfectly on point.
However, despite the talented named cast, the ensemble truly pieced the whole performance together. With each mini solo and contemporary dance break, they added a whole new dimension to the show. Choreographed by Maddie Dunn, adding the amazing set design and use of tricky levels to it all created a show that all involved should be incredibly proud of.
Another mention should be given to the exceptionally talented band behind the stage, as Bjorn Franke provides an incredibly high level of enthusiasm and energy which transferred across to the cast as the show went on.
I’ll stop talking now so I don’t give the whole show away, but this production is definitely worth going to for an evening of music and entertainment.
Tickets are £7.50 for students and £9 standard, and can be bought here.