#RentLive: My RENT Obsession

No Day But Today

Those who follow the blog regularly will know that I love a good musical. I’ve been lucky enough to see a number of musicals performed in theatres both locally in Birmingham, in Manchester, on the West End in London and even on Broadway over the last decade. However, there’s one musical in particular that is my favourite above all the others, that I know inside out and will watch over and over while feeling like I’ve been reunited with a group of friends every time I do…

RENT.

As with most things, I was very late to the RENT party, only discovering its brilliance in 2016 – 20 years after its first Off Broadway performance, 11 years after the release of the movie and 8 years after its final Broadway performance. Continue reading

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London, Rent and Anthony Rapp

imageIf there is such a thing as a perfect weekend, then this was it.

Those of you who follow the blog regularly will know of my mini-obsession with RENT, the musical. Admittedly, I only really discovered it properly this year, despite learning lots of the songs in my teens at college, but after seeing it live in a local theatre this summer, I’ve become a huge fan…

For my birthday last month, The Bloke surprised me with tickets to the 20th Anniversary tour in London, along with a night in a hotel and train tickets, so I’ve been not-so-quietly looking forward to it for ages.

It also happened to coincide with the end of term (The Bloke works in a school), so he left a few hours earlier than everyone else and by 1.30pm we were on a train (complete with reserved seats, a power point and a table – he had thought of everything, bless him). I was grateful – the train was predictably rammed and ridiculously warm – so while we sat in our seats and talked nonsense at each other, everyone else was fighting for spaces. Continue reading

A Lost Little Cat and a Ruined Birthday Surprise

imageI’m tired today.

I feel a little raw and bruised, mainly because of the trauma of yesterday. The atmosphere of the house is different, almost empty. Daisy’s brother, Poppy (yes, I know it’s a girl’s name – long story) settled down well last night until 4.00am, at which point I think he realised that she wasn’t there, and took it upon himself to investigate every room downstairs, crying as he went. It was quite heartbreaking to listen to – this was only the second night in eleven years that he had spent without her and he was clearly feeling lost.

He’s spent most of today being extremely quiet, fast asleep on my lap. It’s odd – normally he has a mad half-an-hour of running around, playing and making lots of noise after he’s been fed, but today he’s just… sad. Continue reading

No Day But Today

No Day But TodayA little while ago I was invited to see a production of RENT at The Old Rep in Birmingham. I’ve always been a fan of the music, having performed a number of the songs as part of a choir when I was at college, but had never seen the musical itself.

Since then, it has become a minor obsession. We watched (and enjoyed) the musical live on the Tuesday, then rented the film on the Wednesday, watched it again on the Thursday and then I went out and bought the DVD on the Saturday, and we promptly watched it again. I’ve owned the soundtrack with the original Broadway cast for years, so we have listened to it in the car, and there hasn’t been a morning over the last few weeks where I haven’t woken up with part of at least one of the songs going around my head in a loop. Despite the fact that I can’t relate personally to many of the themes in the show, there’s just that something about it that both The Bloke and I have connected with. It has become our thing, even though it finished on Broadway years ago. Continue reading

RENT at The Old Rep

imageI’ve been a huge fan of the music from RENT since my teens, yet have never seen the musical live, so I was ecstatic to receive an invitation for the opening night of RENT at The Old Rep Theatre in Birmingham.

Directed and choreographed by Michael Neri, with a stellar cast of up-and-coming local talented performers, RENT tells the story of a group of young adults who are struggling to survive in New York’s East Village, dealing with issues of AIDS, drug addiction, homosexuality and homophobia.

The set is cleverly simple, with effective ideas used for projections and lighting to suit the small stage in the theatre, and we were given a lovely welcome by the staff when we arrived.

The cast were incredible, with each giving wonderful individual performances in their own right. In particular, Jessica Singer (Mimi) and Joe Ashman (Mark) commanded the stage throughout and Rhys Owen’s performance of I’ll Cover You (Reprise) in the second half was so inspiring that the audience were compelled to give a standing ovation before the song had even finished. Seasons of Love, the opening of Act 2 (and the song I’d been most looking forward to) also didn’t disappoint, with the harmonies on point and a brilliant top note from Alys Wood. Continue reading