RENT is brought to Edinburgh this year by Bare Productions, who have already sold out their run at this year’s Fringe.
RENT is a musical about a group of friends during the AIDS crisis in Manhattan, with interweaving storylines showing the power of friendship and Earth’s real-life angels. Despite the topic being in some ways outdated, the show feels contemporary and very relevant to society today. It’s an emotional and hard-hitting storyline with many strong relationships created and destroyed throughout the show. This tear-jerking piece features songs that any avid musical lover will already know.
The show is staged to a very high quality and feels like a professional production. The largely bare stage lead to the focus being on the incredible actors, and the band are also phenomenal. The onstage TV at various moments throughout the show is particularly clever at helping the story progress, adding further emotion to the piece.
The performance from all is outstanding, with an exceedingly talented cast with no weak links. The harmonies are particularly touching. Although the powerful voices and brilliant acting of the lead cast can be spoken about in detail, the most memorable voice was actually that of a chorus member, leading Seasons of Love (525,600 minutes), giving the audience goosebumps.
The downfall of this show is the material. The interweaving stories lead to a loss of overriding narrative at some stages, with the overall thread of the AIDS crisis not being clear throughout. The first act is too long, with many detours, too many storylines and little memorable music. The second act far exceeds the first, being much faster and more compelling to watch. There were some sound issues throughout the piece, with some moments far too loud and some microphone problems.
This show is professionally crafted and performed, and worth a watch if you can find a ticket!
Rent is performed at Paradise in Augustines until the 12th of August. The run is sold out but you can find out further details of the production here: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/rent