This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw RENT at The Dovehouse at the invitation of Creators Theatre.
For Interval Theatre on Brum Radio, Dave Massey spoke to the cast of RENT and director Richard Agg about this production. Listen below:
By Dave Massey twitter.com/BrumHour
This production contains strong language.
RENT at The Dovehouse with Creators Theatre
Directed by Richard Agg, Choreography by Suzanne Ballard, book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson
New York, 1989 and the HIV/AIDS crisis is gripping parts of Manhattan, Mark (Matthew James) and Roger (Ash Clifford) are roommates in an apartment they used to share with Benny (Mike Bentley) who has become their landlord.
Mark’s ex-girlfriend, Maureen (Kendra Foster McBride) has left him for another woman, Joanne (Jenne Collins). Roger has met Mimi (Faye Harvey-Smith) a lap dancer with a drug issue. Elsewhere, a street busking drag queen called Angel (Jason Andrew) meets a kind man called Collins (Dan Peet).
I was sent a couple of tracks to play on Brum Radio’s Interval Theatre, and just from the quality of those I immediately accepted an invitation to review this production, I loved pretty much every second of it. Seen in 2021, RENT is a love letter to the 1990s, it tells us that life will go on and after the past 18 months, it’s a life affirming statement that we can’t hear enough.
RENT itself is based on Puccini’s La Bohème which centres around a death from consumption (tuberculosis), and for us today its obvious that community and working together are just as important as they are in times of war or great danger.
Matthew James as Mark acts as our narrator whilst the characters sing their stories directly to the audience throughout. I always forget how little there really is in the way of dialogue in RENT as the majority is sung and that might come as a shock to more casual theatregoers.
This is a group with fantastic voices, Faye Harvey-Smith stands out as Mimi, as does Kendra Foster McBride performance art delivering “The Cow Jumped over the Moon” is brilliantly silly. The audience clearly loved Jason Andrew’s Angel too (As did I).
For Creators Theatre, a new production company created in 2020, RENT is a triumph! Even though there were some slight sound issues during the midpoint of the second half, vocals can sometimes be tricky to pick out with a live band, particularly one as skilled as this band. The Dovehouse is set on a school campus near Olton in Solihull and it was great to experience a space I’d never been to before. I can’t wait to see what theatre Creators Theatre produces next.
At two hours and 40 minutes including an interval, RENT is a big story with a lot of songs to tell that story with, however it is hugely rewarding and this company is exhilarating with its enthusiasm and charm.
With lots of fantastic local talent on display RENT is an uplifting, fast paced musical with a serious message about self care and caring for others. RENT is at The Dovehouse until Saturday 2nd October. Book tickets here: ticketsource.co.uk/creators