UoN Medics do RENT @ Nottinghams Arts Theatre

UoN Medics delight the crowds with RENT. Where do they find the time? Eleanor Porter reports.

UoN Medics operating theatre.

Staging an all-singing, all-dancing musical, while studying Medicine, is challenging enough.

But staging Jonathan Larson’s RENT is a completely different ballgame. Could a bunch of fourth year medics convince the audience that they were watching a group of Smack-addicted, HIV-infected, pole-dancing, ‘bohemian’ artists slumming it in the seedy squatting neighbourhoods of New York?

Apparently yes, and it looked suspiciously easy. Within five minutes of the show beginning, a high-energy, weapon wielding and angry chorus confronted the audience, and would continue to captivate their attention throughout.

The show also boasted terrific chemistry between all the main characters, especially between best friends Mark (Nick Dobson) and Roger (Jamie Coleman), and lesbian couple Maureen and Joanne (played by Katie Ewart and Jess Agbamu).

Highlights of the show were Ashley Clews-Jones’ sensitive interpretation of Angel, the transvestite character, and the shamelessly affectionate Ed Charles, who played Tom Collins.

As for the cameo roles, it can be said that this production starred the slimiest, scariest drug-dealer ever, played by Paul McIntyre. When The Tab inquired as to how he might have researched this role, Paul insisted vehemently that his only inspiration for his character was Batman. 

Being the opening night, there were some noticeable slip-ups, but this had all but disappeared by the second half. With the evident competence of the band, the affection the actors hold for their roles, and the hard work put in by the directors and all involved, this show is a pleasure to watch, and will get better and better.

If you’d like to see the Medics perform RENT – you can’t. They sold out their run until the 20th October. Congratulations to them.