Rent, Lowther Pavilion, Lytham, Until Saturday
Directors Lynda Clarkson and Chris Campbell have here harnessed the talents of the Fylde’s finest performers of college age to present a memorable show.
Phil Sykes’ evocative set and lighting, Chris Higgins’ gutsy live band and Amy Appleton’s vibrant choreography – particularly in limited space with ‘La Vie Boheme’ - underpin first class performances by all the principals.
The bohemian sub culture of 1990s New York, blighted by drugs and AIDS, is the setting. Steven England, narrating attractively despite the grim situations, has a fine stage presence and voice, while Steven Deveney, as a hard-to-like Roger, is suitably wracked by angst throughout.
Ben David, every inch the drag queen Angel, is superbly supple and there is a wonderful tour de force from Joely Emms, as performance artist Maureen, with her ‘Jumping over the moon’.
There is excellent work from Sam Thomas, Josh Warburton and Zoe Leary and Rebecca Duckworth as Mimi – here’s the nod to Puccini’s La Boheme – belts out her numbers with relish.
The ending is a bit schmaltzy and the all-sung score limits rather than enhances the opportunity for the actors to portray their full personality, but the audience was blown away.
The Centre Stage Company are establishing a well-deserved reputation for top quality productions and a professional cast would be hard pressed to better this.