Aug 22 2018 | By More

★★★★☆   Powerful

Gilded Balloon Rose Theatre (venue 76): Thurs 16 – Sun 26 Aug 2018
Review by Sarah Moyes

Captivate Theatre bring a powerful and emotional production of 90’s musical Rent to the Fringe, 20 years after it first opened in New York.

The story of Rent is a recognised tale from both theatre and film. Inspired by Puccini’s La Boheme, it follows the story of a group of poor Bohemian artists struggling to survive in New York’s East Village under the shadow of HIV/AIDS in the late 1980s.

Captivate Theatre Rent Gilded Balloon at Rose Street EdFringe 2018

Grace Cowley. Pic: Captivate Theatre

The group’s financial woes are first laid bare on the title track Rent accompanied by a live band – Caitlin Morgan (keys), Struan Nelson (guitar), Mark Sandford (bass) and Fraser McClelland (drums) which really sets the tone for this rock musical.

It’s clear from the start that the calibre of talent in the show is high. Indeed, there’s not a weak link in the cast with drag queen Angel (Chris McLeish), his loving partner Tom (Mark Scott), filmmaker Mark (Matthew Wilson) and lawyer Joanne (Megan Grace) all giving very strong and sometimes very emotional performances.

The group’s landlord is a smaller part in comparison to the rest – Finlay McKillop is as harsh as he should be the group’s former roommate turned landlord.

However, it’s the songs in the show that is where this production really shines. Under the musical direction of Ian Sutherland the young cast give one incredible performance after another, from Grace Cowley’s powerful performance of Over The Moon as performance artist Maureen, to the charming duet Light My Candle by Alex Peters and Anna MacLeod who play Roger and Mimi respectively.

intimate setting

Director Tom Mullins has presented a more stripped back version of Rent with a chorus of just five, yet despite its size they really help lift the big numbers like Seasons of Love which opens the second act.

Captivate Theatre Rent Gilded Balloon at Rose Street EdFringe 2018

The cast of Rent. Pic: Captivate Theatre

The intimate setting of the Rose Theatre works both for and against the production of such a high energy musical. On the one hand, the small setting really immerses the audience in the show – but such a lively performance would really stand out on a much bigger stage and give the cast more room to play with.

Once again, Captivate Theatre has delivered another fantastic rendition of a much-loved musical at the Fringe. Powerful, energetic and full of new talent – Rent will delight both old fans and new.

Running time – 2 hours (including interval)
Gilded Balloon at Rose Theatre (venue 76), 204 Rose Street, Edinburgh, EH2 4AZ
Thursday 16 – Sunday 26 August 2018.
Daily: 5.15pm
Tickets and details:

Captivate Theatre website:
Facebook: @captivatetheatre
Twitter: @Captivate_LTD


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Comments are closed.