RENT Review

RENT - The Regal Theatre, Perth
Sunday, 18th November 2007.

Although not being familiar with the storyline my attention was drawn to this production by none other than Mr Tim Campbell (Dan Baker on Home and Away). This story depicts the hardship facing aspiring entertainers living in New York City. RENT opens with Mark (played by Anthony Callea) on December 24, Christmas Eve in his New York apartment he shares with his room mate Roger (Tim Campbell). Roger is attempting to write one last song, before he inevitably dies from AIDS (which his previous girlfriend gave him before dumping him and killing herself), but is struggling for inspiration. The power is cut. Their landlord Benny has married into money and is planning to turn the apartment into a cyber-studio, to which Maureen, Mark's ex-girlfriend-turned-lesbian (played by Nikki Webster) is protesting that night. Benny wishes to strike a deal with the boys that if they are able to call off the protest then he will let them stay in the flat rent-free.

The majority of the show is told by song, even the dialogue is mostly sung. The American accents are fairly consistent by the majority of the cast. Tim Campbell and his on-stage love interest Mimi were, in my opinion, the stand out performers (and I'm not just saying that because I'm biased). The first act after an hour and twenty minutes closes appropriately with Roger and Mimi sharing a passionate kiss atop the scaffolding that is erected on stage for the entirety of the show.

Tim leaves Dan Baker well and truly behind him as he dons a leather jacket and hooks up with smack-addicted Mimi who also carries her own baggage. I won't tell you how it ends in case you get a chance to see this fabulous production, but it does involve lycra-drag, more drugs, girl-on-girl action, the occasional swear word and the revelation that there are 525,600 minutes in a year (Colleen would have a field day!). Tim definitely does the complexity of Roger's character justice and you do not for one moment believe that he is still stranded in Summer Bay. A great contrast between Dan and Roger, I think Tim Campbell has found his calling. He also shows his great singing abilities and acting diversity that was not fully explored on Home and Away. Although he will be missed as Dan, if Tim can keep pulling out performances like the one I saw, he will never be forgotten. Absolutely brilliant!

Thanks to Jen