Cardiff family lifestyle, arts and culture blog.


Review: Kinetic Theatre Arts Presents Rent!

 Last night we were invited to see Kinetic Theatre Arts perform the wonderful musical Rent at The Atrium in Cardiff. I've never been to this venue before, but it was a nice introduction to Warren's new world because he starts his Sound Engineering course there this year and this will be his main base for study- how exciting!

The theatre can accommodate a fair amount of people, but I think when there's unreserved seating people need to be a bit more sensible with how they file in. Leaving seats between yourself and a stranger is just a little immature in my opinion, and it made it very awkward for those last in through the door who couldn't sit with their companions.

Before I go into any detail about the show, I just want to say that Warren and I both agree this is the best performance we've ever seen from Kinetic Theatre Arts. It felt extremely well rehearsed, choreographed and executed. The casting as a whole was pretty spot on, and the costumes were in-keeping with Rent.

You might already know that I adore Rent. It's one of those musical performances I can relate to on so many levels, and I think the music and composition is phenomenal. It evokes such emotion, pain and reminds me how damn lucky I am to have a group of friends I completely adore.

As we walked in I immediately noticed the set, industrial and grunge in style, it reminded me of my youth. The posters and use of props were perfect and simplistic (but in a good way!) and I loved the Christmas lights and use of lighting throughout the show to highlight various scenes and characters.

The music from Rent is simply divine, and it's a joy to see different variations of the show. The band were on stage and they offered a punchy performance; I always love it when you can see the musicians because they work tirelessly to keep the performance moving forward.
The performance began and it was powerful, well delivered and harmonious. You could tell each member of the cast was enjoying every moment and that makes the audience enjoy it even more! 

Mark (Jack Green) opens the show as a narrator of the lives of a group of friends who can't afford to pay their rent. From this a series of events occur between the group of friends, from drug abuse to pure poverty plus the focus on AIDs, this story is deeply dark and it's main focus is on the importance of friendship and love. Green opened the show with lots of energy and his performance kept the story ticking along nicely.

The casting was good, but I have to say that Roger played by James Evans stood out a mile to me last night. Warren and I both agreed his acting, accent and vocals were spot on. He totally shone as Roger, and I felt his pain, anger and sadness throughout, as well as his total adoration of Mimi. I felt that when he was on stage I was drawn into the show completely; I felt his performance really meant something, especially with the repetitive I Should Tell You – simply beautiful. 

I grew to like Mimi (Caz Walsh) more during the second half the show, and I think her performance of Without You alongside Evans Was really heart-wrenching. Much like Jack Davies who played Collins I much prefer Cassie's performances of softer, slower songs compared to the powerful ones. Both performers looked determined to perform with passion and determination and this made their characters more complete.

We both thought Joanne (Jade Wellbeloved) and Maureen (Grace Morrison) were powerful forces upon the stage, with fantastic voices and incredible stage presence. I particularly loved their duet, or as Warren described it, 'Sing Off' with the song Take Me Or Leave Me. It was powerful and well timed, and their harmonies were spot on.

I thought the chorus were strong, humorous and they worked hard as team to create backing vocals as well as setting scenes behind the main characters. In particular the song Seasons of Love stood out for me and for Warren it has to be Will I?; we both adored how well timed the overlapping of lyrics worked and the beautiful harmonies.

As ever, the story of Angel is a heartbreaking one. Angel and Collins offer a love at first sight story, with so much positivity and focus upon true friendships and love. I thought Thomas Price was perfectly cast as Angel, moving around the stage in heels with such elegance, Price had a LOT of stage presence. Unfortunately I think there may have been an issue with the microphone as we couldn't hear a lot of Angel's dialogue or singing, which was such a shame. Regardless of this, Angel still stood out and performed with such ease and grace, it was hard to take your eyes off her.

I really enjoyed this performance and I feel so proud to have been invited along to see Kinetic Theatre Arts shine. You guys rocked and thank you for having us!

Disclosure: I received tickets in exchange for review. All opinions are 100% honest and my own.

Photo credit: Pete Rankin. 

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