Last night I attended my first ever performance of the musical Rent. The performance I saw was at the Evergreen Cultural Centre in Coquitlam. I have to begin by saying that this was not a Broadway level of performance, nor was I expecting it to be. However, it was an incredible community theatre performance that was full of passion, energy and a first class demonstration of the cast and crews love for the story of Rent. Fabulous, simply fabulous.
Before describing the performance though, the theatre, which is inside the Evergreen Cultural Centre, is in its own right quite spectacular. The lobby of the theatre opens onto a grassy slope that runs down to Lafarge Lake; a pretty cool setting for a theatre.
Upon entering the Evergreen I was pleasantly surprised to see a youthful crowd. All too often live theatre performance audiences are filled with the blue hair crowd. Not last night. There was loads of excitement in the house. It was a real treat to see such energy in a theatre.
And now to the performance. It was obvious from the opening scene that this cast loves the story of Rent. Their enthusiasm and energy were inspiring. Rent is a modern day adaptation (a rock opera) of Puccini’s opera, La Boheme. I have seen La Boheme performed at the Queen E Theatre and I have to admit that last night’s performance was far more emotionally draining for me than La Boheme ever was. Perhaps it is because the characters in Rent are living and dying in the shadow of HIV/AIDS instead of the catchall disease of “consumption” that adds to its power.
Watching the trials and tribulations of the young bohemians in Rent carried me back to the heady days of my youth. The struggles to pay the rent and have enough money to share a beer or two with my fellow bohemians…ahh…the good old days. The cast of Rent sang their songs of love and despair and struggle with heartfelt conviction. They were not always in tune or on key but for what they lacked in skill they made up for with their conviction to the program.
Of course the other factor that must be considered is that virtually the entire cast and crew is composed of 15 to 22 year old volunteers. These are youth who do this because they love theatre. I applaud them for their conviction. To see this incredibly youthful group tackle the issues of poverty and homelessness, HIV/AIDS and death, drugs and addiction, artistic merit and seeing your loved ones “selling out”…such powerful issues for such a youthful cast.
If you have the opportunity, get yourself down to the Evergreen Cultural Centre and see Theatrix’s performance of Rent. This performance is only on stage until July 25th so you really do need to act if you want to take in this performance. This is a fabulous performance. Fabulous.
Disclaimer; My ticket to Rent was sponsored very generously by Theatrix Youtheatre Society. I am not obligated nor expected to write this review entry, but I certainly feel that my readers would benefit from attending this play because it is an excellent performance. In any review I write or publish on my site, I retain editorial control at all times. Should you have any questions or concerns, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org