LUST Present: RENT – A Review
Opening night in the Stanley Theatre, family, friends and fellow students gathered together to support the amazing society that is LUST, as all their hard work paid off, which was obvious as soon as the first note was sung in the opening song ‘Rent’. Everyone had a huge role to play, and everyone executed it perfectly, resulting in an immense cheer and standing ovation at the end of the show.
RENT: The Musical, is a rock musical written by Jonathan Larson, who brought it to Broadway in 1996, and was massively critically acclaimed, lasting 12 years with 5,123 performances. The musical is set in 1989 in the East Village of New York City, telling the story of a group of young, slightly impoverished artists struggling to survive in the Big Apple under the shadow of HIV/AIDS. It starts with Mark and Roger struggling to pay bills in their NYC apartment. Mark is an unemployed documentary filmmaker, and the narrator of the show, whilst Roger dreams of becoming a musician again, searching for ‘one last song’. Shortly after, we’re introduced to Mimi, a young girl desperate to escape the real world and find love; Collins, an anarchist professor with AIDS; Angel, a drag queen and street percussionist who is Collins’ love interest; Maureen, an eccentric and flirty performance artist; and Joanne, Maureen’s girlfriend and public interest lawyer. It’s a story about following your dreams, no matter how hard things get in life, about falling love and to live every day to its fullest as there is no day but today!
Production team Alice McCormack, Catilin Marley, Mika Haasler, Megan Rowlands, and Abigail Morris flawlessly translated the play onto stage with slick choreography and a strong vision of what Rent signifies. As described by a fellow production member, director McCormack is said to embody everything that Rent stands for “strength, resilience and passion”. Undoubtedly, these three powerful attributes shone thoroughly throughout the performance and clearly through the work that these students had put into this over the past few months.
Playing the roles of friendship trio Mark Cohen, Roger Davis and Tom Collins were actors Adam Riley, David Nagaj and Fergus O’Sullivan respectively. Leading the show in love, loss and recovery, the three were successful in their convincing performances of New York strugglers alongside Mia Gregory playing Mimi Marquez, Taylor Anne Henwood playing Maureen Johnson and Emily Jones playing Joanne Jefferson. With a very convincing and heartfelt performance of drag queen ‘Angel’, Jonny Kain played the role that teaches others to have the motivation to laugh and love through the tough times.
Each actor’s beautiful voice filled the auditorium with big ballads and perfect harmonies, bringing the very special Broadway tone to Liverpool. At the same time, the ensemble glued each scene and song together, making the stage burst with energy and enthusiasm. Fulfilling the heart of the musical Rent was the cast of musicians who beautifully replicated the original soundtrack and seamlessly connected the show from beginning to end.
On the last night of performance, the cast broke into tears at the encore of the recognisable theatre hit ‘Seasons of Love’. The energy, commitment and passion that is poured into University LUST performances is clearly seen by the way it is repeatedly poured out in each show performance.
Have a rest, ready for the next show : Oklahoma! in December. The University is lucky (and proud) to have such talented performers in its midst.
By Kayleigh Jones and Rachael Wass