Theater: Rent – Hope Mill Theatre

Opened: October 30, 2020

Book, Music & Lyrics by: Jonathan Larson

Original Hope Mill Theatre Cast: Millie O’Connell, Maiya Quansah-Breed, Jocasta Almgill, Blake Patrick Anderson, Tom Francis, Ahmed Hamad, Dom Hartley-Harris, Alex Thomas-Smith, Allie Daniel, Isaac Hesketh, Bethany Terry & Kayla Carter

Rehearsed and performed amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, director Luke Sheppard finds interesting ways to restage Jonathan Larson’s modern classic, Rent, that gives the show a brilliant new look with the same hardcore energy.

Over the course of a year, a group of friends go through trials living in New York City during the AIDS epidemic.

There are several character decisions actors make that allow for a different view of well-established characters. Blake Patrick Anderson is amongst the best Marks ever and gives him a hipster vibe. Six alums Maiya Quansah-Breed and Millie O’Connell also bring changes with Quansah-Breed playing a consistently high-on-drugs and O’Connell taking Maureen’s performances quite seriously.

Tom Jackson Greaves’ choreography is spectacular and somehow the characters almost never touching is more sensual than if portrayed with physicality.

Final say: One of the best productions of Rent. ★★★★★

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