Musical Review








Sedos presents


Written by Jonathan Larson

Directed by Dan Chasemore and Chloe Faine

Bridewell Theatre

13 – 22 November, 2008



ary Couzens

A review by Alice McKenzies for EXTRA! EXTRA!


For a musical set in New York´s Alphabet City during the AIDS crisis Rent has an infectiously smiley and catchy theme tune. Despite not really being a musical theatre kind of girl, I am a little embarrassed to admit that I found myself singing out loud to the taxis as I cycled home.

“Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes!
How do you measure…. measure a year?”

“In daylights, in sunsets, in midnights, in cuuuups of coffee”. Rent follows a group of gay and straight artists, hobos, exotic dancers and junkies in 1980´s New York as they continue to love and live in the looming shadows of AIDS and eviction. Jonathan Larson´s award winning play takes La Boheme and applies it to another generation of bohemians. At first the characters treat AIDS almost like a club that everyone belongs to and eviction as an inspiration to performance art and community spirit. This first half runs the line between humour and over-posturing and was occasionally grating, but fun to watch.

“In truths that she leeaarned, or in times that he criiied. In bridges he buuurned, or the way that she died.” As the night went on the shadows darkened and the cast began to warm-up as the characters and their relationships grew and became more complicated. The fabulous Angel (James Howard) and Collins (Alex James Hall) became the tender and stable gay couple as counterpoint to the other, more tempestuous relationships that crossed and uncrossed around them.

“How about looo-oove? How about looo-oove? How about looove? Measure in looove. Sea-sons of love.”

The crossing and uncrossing was something that the directors Dan Chasemore and Chloe Faine did really well. The large cast provided a lot of scope for crowd scenes and  Chasemore and Faine gave them a feel of energy and bustle. “In inches, in miles, in laughter, in strife. In 525,600 minutes - how do you measure a year in the life?” Mini-dramas and lives carried on even in scenes which could have been abandoned as mere transitions. There was a feeling that the lives of these people really did exist away from the audience´s eye. Each of the characters seemed to be searching for a way to belong, something or someone to make them feel at home. It was a shame that the “first night curse” hit the microphones and left some of the soloist’s songs difficult to listen to. There were some great notes hit and some notes missed, but the live band carried them all with an infectious finger-clicking enthusiasm and smooth professionalism.

“It’s time now to sing out, though the story never ends, let's celebrate remember a year in the life of friends.
 Remember the love! Remember the love! “

Despite a few reservations and some unpolished sections, by the end of the night Rent had moved me and I skipped off happily into the night.


“Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes!
How do you measure…. measure a year?”


Box office:

Tickets: 13, 14, 18, 19, 21, 22 November at 7.30pm, £15 (concessions £12.50)
15, 22 November at 3pm £15 (concessions £12.50)
15 November (gala performance – proceeds to Half Moon) at 7.30pm, £20 (concessions £15)
20 November (charity fundraiser – proceeds to Terrence Higgins Trust) at 8pm, £30 (no concessions)

Bridewell Theatre
 St Brides Foundation, Bride Lane, London, EC4Y 8EQ.







Copyright © EXTRA! EXTRA All rights reserved