Monday, March 5, 2012

Rave Review of RENT!

I had an amazing Sunday afternoon. Normally I spend the time until about seven o'clock feeling guilty about all the homework I'm not doing, but this weekend I was entranced by Orpheus' production of RENT instead.

I went with three of my friends, and between the need to get four seats together and having left getting tickets until Friday, we had ended up with seats in pretty much the last row of the main floor. But I quickly discovered that there are no bad seats in Centrepointe Theatre. I could see the stage - and the beautiful, multi-level, super neat set on it - just fine.

I've known about RENT for five or six years, even since my aunt gave me the Broadway Cast recording for Christmas. I've loved the music, especially One Song Glory (which inspired the name of this blog), pretty much ever since. I'd even read about the story in the CD insert. But watching the play was still a hundred times better than I'd imagined.

From the first moment of Mark's introductory speech, I was riveted. Watching the play, so many little things finally made sense - the honest living 'squeegee man' for one, the conversation with (and videoing of) the police officers for another. And then there were all the little details of a stage play that make them so much fun to watch. For exampled, early in the second act, when other couples are singing on the stage, Angel is puking over the side of his 'hospital bed' in the background. It's something I didn't 'need' to see and might have missed. But I'm glad I saw it.

The whole show was amazing and the cast was spectacular, but there were a few great performance moments that I just have to point out in particular:
  • Andrea Black as Mimi, during Out Tonight. She was not only amazingly flexible and a very skilled dancer, but she also kept her singing up flawlessly despite a dance that looked like quite a workout to me.
  • Devon O'Reilly as Maureen, during Over The Moon. Her performance/dance was intense, but with plenty of humour to spice it up. I am in awe of her bravery and confidence in performing it.
  • Rebecca Abbott as Joanne, in Seasons of Love. Her solo during this, the opening number of Act Two, was breathtakingly beautiful. The whole song was; the cast did a great job.
The biggest surprise of the night for me was the song Contact. Despite listening to every other song plenty of times, I had only ever heard it once. Out of context and at the tender age of 12, it creeped me out. But within the story, on stage, I really, really liked it.

Overall, the cast did a great job of bringing all the emotions and the heartache of the play to everyone in the audience. When Angel (Jeremy Sanders) and Collins (Maxim David) started singing I'll Cover You so happily, I nearly started to cry, knowing what was coming later in the play. I did cry during the funeral, and the reprise of I'll Cover You. (Thankfully my friend had Kleenex.)

The one issue with the performance was that sometimes the singing was drowned out by the music. The music was fantastic, don't get me wrong, but I wanted (and needed, given how much of the plot is sung) to hear every word being said onstage.

I would recommend this show to everyone. Students can get tickets for five bucks (using the eyeGo program), so don't let price hold you back. I'll be going back next weekend with my little sister and as many other 'RENT virgins' as I can convince to come! If you can make it, you should do the same.

On a non-RENT note, I recently won an Honourable Mention in the "Writer's of the Unemployed" Contest. You can find my story, "Broccoli Choices," here. If you like it, give it a Facebook 'like' please, and help me win a copy of Christopher Profeta's new book.

Then go buy tickets to see RENT. You won't regret it.

1 comment:

  1. As one of the Cast members of this show, I want to extend our deepest gratitude to you for your lovely review. It is a dream come true for all of us to be included in this production and we are so thrilled that it has been received so well. See you again this weekend!! "No day but today"

    ~Emily Reid