Rent - UK Tour - 17th February 2001

The first surprise with the production at the Leicester Haymarket is that the staging and direction are almost identical to the London production. I had been expecting a completely different take on the show, not that it mattered it was just different from my expectations.

Overall this was a strong cast although I feel some of the actors need to settle completely into their characters. Stand outs for me were Mykal Rand as Collins and Neil Couperthwaite as Angel, these two created the most convincing couple of all on stage and what a voice Mykal has, the scene during 'Without you' was particularly touching. Also Wendy Mae Brown as Joanne, she again has a fabulous voice and had nicely created the character of Joanne. Lucy Willliamson was a very energetic Maureen and had a strong voice but I feel the link between her and Joanne was perhaps not there yet. I still do not like the 'cow' song no matter who sings it !! I was pleasantly surprised by Adam Rickett, I admit my expectations hadn't been high but I thought he was very good, his voice held well and although he perhaps just needs to relax into the role a little I felt he had captured the character well. Debbie Kurup's Mimi was a little up and down in characterisation, I didn't like the way the 'got a light sequence' was played, from the moment she walked in on Roger she was a like a seductress and it could not have been said to be subtle. She was too strong in voice and stature for the weakened Mimi who 'hadn't eaten much today and was cold'. She had a very strong voice and in the second act settled a lot more into the character and played the part really well. I have to say that I feel Damien Flood is not right for Roger, he hadn't , for me, captured the grittiness and anger of the character but just came across and as very grumpy and depressive and no element of the troubled soul was apparent. What was odd as the first scene and 'One Song Glory' were done very well but then once he had changed to his 'leathers' I'm afraid he would have been more at home in Grease. He had a good strong voice but the true character of Roger just wasn’t there. Jason Pennycooke was the suitably flash Benny.

There was sterling support from the other cast members who created the multitude of characters throughout the show. Rachel Mcfarlane, a veteran of the London cast, provided the excellent solo vocals for Seasons of love.

Overall a very good production which I wouldn't mind seeing again once it is further into it's run.

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