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Rent The Musical - New Theatre Peterborough Review

Reviewed by Amber
Tickets were gifted in return for an honest review 

Landmark Theatre’s RENT delights and prevails as another successful retelling of Jonathan Larson’s rock opera. The cast hit each emotional moment with grace and confidence, leading the audience from laughter to tears with ease and understanding. Luke Friend’s powerful vocals bring out the raw, broken heartache that follows Roger as he laments his past and resists meaningful connections with those around him. Watching his Roger grow and change and regain hope throughout the two-act structure was a marvel.

The Rent company. Photo by Louise Waldron.

Kyle Richardson and Cameron Bernard Jones play Angel and Collins with a vulnerability that leaves the audience with no choice but to fall in love with them both – a true power couple who lean on each other for support. ‘I’ll Cover You’ was joyous, a true celebration of love and acceptance… which only served to make the reprise 
even more impactful in the second act. 

The talented ensemble worked deliciously hard to make the East Village feel vibrant and full of life – Dylan Andrews as the Live Café waiter stood out as hilarious and relatable too all those who have worked in the hospitality industry.

It was unfortunate that the sound felt quite flat – numbers involving the entire company became difficult to follow, lines clashing into the next to make for an almost-inaudible experience. Despite the issues with sound, Steve Skinner and Tom Weil’s arrangements allowed for the well-known numbers to be explored in new and creative ways that surely serve as a surprising delight for Rentheads.

Kyle Richardson (Angel), Cameron Bernard Jones (Collins) and Jack Reitman (Mark). Photo by Louise Waldron.

The set design by Amanda Stoodley featured three visible staircases which allowed for pockets of intimacy between characters in the background of scenes without breaking the audience’s main focus. Sadly it also restricted scenes to small areas of the stage, leaving the cast packed in closely and some of the impact lost in the confusion. Some of the blocking on the highest level also felt clumsy at time – notably during ‘Out Tonight’ as Mimi runs offstage singing to ascend a fourth staircase in the wings so that she can interrupt the life support meeting and get rather harshly thrown down another set of stairs by the facilitator. It was a decision that felt out of place and uncomfortable to witness. 

There is something special woven into the threads of RENT that allows it to be a pivotal piece of theatre we see reproduced again and again for audiences to see and learn from. Paul Jepson clearly knew this; the integration of projection onto the back walls of the stage, giving the audience insight into the realities of austerity and the AIDs crisis surrounding the characters. 

This production serves to be one that speaks to audiences of all experiences and backgrounds, diehard fans of RENT and those new to the material. The full ovation during the bows was utterly deserved and is bound to be a regular sight for the company.

RENT is currently playing at New Theatre, Peterborough until 29th June 2024 before continuing on to Barnstaple’s Queen’s Theatre from 3rd until 7th July 2024. Tickets are available from

The excellent pairing of Athena Collins (Joanne) and Alicia Corrales (Maureen). Photo by Louise Waldron.

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