VIVA LA VIE BOHEME! For there is no day but today to see this show.
Tyne Theatre Productions returned tonight, for the first time since the pandemic began, with the ground-breaking rock musical RENT from Wednesday 23 March – Saturday 26 March 2022 at the Tyne Theatre and Opera House.
Can I also just point out here and now also that Tyne Theatre Productions is a volunteer led organisation that stages an annual production at the Newcastle based venue, raising vital funds for the Grade 1 listed venue and how glad I am that they do. This was one of the best shows I’ve seen.
For those that don’t know…Jonathan Larson’s RENT follows a year in the life of a group of impoverished young artists and musicians struggling to survive and create in New York’s Lower East Side, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS.
This show directed by Sonia Hernandez, was high energy, fluent and a joy to watch. It showed us hope, dreams, belief, sadness and friendship all in different measures.
I was naturally drawn to Craig Wallace as Roger and his love interest Mimi played by Bridget Anne. Both lost souls carrying their own baggage who were found each other. These were my standouts for the night personally. I absolutely loved their vocals and chemistry, especially in songs Light My Candle and the highly enjoyable Another Day.
The cast were fantastic, all having their own moments within the show to shine, and for many reasons others will have their own favourites.
Matthew McGuire (Mark) caught this story on his recorder and was enjoyable to watch. Jack Hawkins (Collins) journey in finding and losing his partner emotive, Ryan Duffy (Angel) as the respective partner made us laugh and cry for many reasons. Stephanie Peacock (Maureen) brought to life the most crazy dream I’ve ever heard, of whom constantly bickers with Rebecca Graham (Joanne). Garry Roe (Benny) as the once lower east bohemian now changed plays his part well too.
The ensemble brought an energy when supporting, the band hidden under the stage were hidden treasures.
When the vocals reverberated around this naturally acoustic theatre they really did. It was loud and unapologetic and it just added to the feeling of this show. There were many great songs, again shining through the delivery of each character in this show and maybe too many to pick out.
The telling of this story was fluent and even with a near 1.5 hr first interval, flowed. I was also taken by a particularly poignant scene where we saw three different stories unfold in front of us across the tables in the second half too.
Great credit also goes to the creative team. Director Sonia Hernandez, Musical Director Jenni Watson, Assistant Director Jon Isbell, Choreographer Steph Crewe and Assistant Musical Director Jack Elsdonwho took an already legendary show and added their own value.
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes you’ll still be talking about this show!
Photo Credits: Helen Rowlands, Madfencer Photography and Alan Watkinson.
RENT at Tyne Theatre and Opera House from Wednesday 23 March – Saturday 26 March 2022. Tickets on-sale now from £14.00 with group rates available from tynetheatreandoperahouse.uk