Review: Rent, York Theatre Royal

The cast of Rent.The cast of Rent.
The cast of Rent.
Jonathan Larson, the creator of Rent, never lived to see the success of the rock musical for which he wrote book, music and lyrics. He died from an aortic aneurysm on the eve of the first off-Broadway performance at the age of 35.

Twenty years later Rent, laden with theatrical awards and the Pulitzer Prize, remains as powerful as ever with its story of impoverished young artists struggling to survive in mid-1990s New York City’s East Village with the threat of HIV/AIDS ever present.

The story of doomed lovers is loosely based on the opera La Boheme, but don’t let that put you off visiting what’s a loud and proud rock opera blessed in this first rate production by a superb cast who really can sing.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

One of the leading cast members Lucie Jones - the X Factor finalist who’ll represent the UK in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest - was absent through illness for Tuesday’s opening night in York but more than ably replaced by understudy Christina Modestou in what’s essentially an ensemble piece.

There’s not a weak link among them although it would be wrong not to make special mention of Layton Williams, a former stage Billy Elliot, who proves a standout scene-stealer as drag artist Angel in

Lee Proud’s dynamic choreography.

Until Saturday. 01904 623568,