Believe it or not I had never seen a performance of the massive Broadway hit, Rent. I was excited to say the least and my expectations were pretty high. I’m glad to say that this production more than exceeded my high expectations.
Performed by an ensemble of the graduating class of Sheridan College’s Music Theatre Performance Program, there is never a dull moment in this show. I have to say that the calibre of the talent blew me away. There’s no way anyone would categorize this as a “school production”, it has all the makings of a grand Mirvish show.
I was lucky enough to see this show with, self proclaimed Rent-head and my managing editor, Wayne Leung. I was grateful for his insight as he has seen this show on Broadway and several other productions over the years. He also loved the show and thought everyone did a stellar job. That’s quite the compliment coming from him.
The music and lighting were superb as was the set. An industrial looking metal staircase that covers the expanse of the stage. Wayne said it was a really fresh way to see the set and he liked what they had done with it. I have nothing to compare it to, but I agree. The costumes, hair and make-up were spot on as well.
The entire show had a really raw, gritty feel. Exactly the way I had pictured it.
The cast is huge and while I cannot single out everyone in the cast of 32, there were a couple of really stand-out performances. Andres Sierra is fabulous as Angel and steals every scene he’s in. Julia McLellan is outstanding as Maureen and has the right spit fiery attitude. Michelle Bouey who plays Mimi makes the perfect sex bomb. Like I said though, everyone in this production is fantastic.
For people that have seen Rent before, this production is still worth seeing. I heard a couple of people say that it was cool to see such a young cast (in their twenties) performing this show about people in their twenties as most productions always cast older actors. This was a welcome change.
The only problem with the show for me was that the music at times drowned out the actor’s voices. It seemed to be fixed by the end of the show on opening night so I’m sure it’ll no longer be an issue. It did however make it difficult to hear some of the lyrics that night.
The show is on the longer side at just over two and a half hours with an intermission but I promise you won’t be bored and it will leave you wanting more.
The show is on till June 3rd and showcases the future of Toronto theatre, this is your opportunity to check them out. You absolutely must!
– Rent is playing at the Panasonic Theatre (651 Yonge St) till June 3, 2012
– Performances run Tuesday to Thursday at 7:30pm; Friday & Saturday at 8pm; Saturday & Sunday 2pm
– Tickets range from $25 to $60
– Tickets are available online via Ticket King, or by calling (416) 872 1212
Photo of cast by John Jones