REVIEW: RENT Lowther Pavilion, Lytham

Ben David who plays Angel and Sam Thomas who plays Collins in Centre Stage Theatre Company's production of RENT

Ben David who plays Angel and Sam Thomas who plays Collins in Centre Stage Theatre Company's production of RENT

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Directors Lynda Clarkson and Chris Campbell have harnessed the talents of the Fylde’s finest young performers 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.

The bohemian sub culture of 1990s New York, blighted by drugs and AIDS, is the setting.

Steven England has a fine stage presence and voice, whilst 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 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.

JULIAN WILDE