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Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Rent

Rent (2005)
Dir: Chris Columbus
Starring: Taye Diggs, Anthony Rapp, Adam Pascal, Rosario Dawson, Idina Menzel, Tracie Thoms, Wilson Jermaine Heredia, Jesse L. Martin

You know what I love about musicals? (And anyone who knows me at least a little well knows that I'm a huge musicals fanatic). How different they can be, but still all so good at the same time. I mean, take Oklahoma, full of cheerful singing cowboys and surreys with fringes and beautiful mornings. Then compare it to Rent, a gritty piece about a group of New Yorkers dealing with AIDs, homosexuality, homelessness and the bohemian way of life. Not a cheerful singing cowboy in sight, more cheerful singing drag queens. And yet both musicals are filled with plenty of good songs and both were stand-out smash hits of their time.

Rent covers a year in the life of seven people living in Manhattan's East Village. They consist of Mark, an inspiring film-maker, his ex-girlfriend Maureen who recently left him for lawyer Joanne. Roger is an ex-drug addict and Mark's roommate, whose girlfriend died of AIDs (I think), who meets Mimi, a junkie and a stripper, and they fall in love. Philosophy professor Collins meets Angel, a flamboyant and eternally optimistic cross-dresser, and they also fall in love. There is also Benny, who used to be a friend of theirs but who married their landlord's daughter and now only shows up to try and get them to pay their.... rent.

Firstly, it is a musical, and there is more singing than speaking, so obviously I liked it. The songs are much more rock than classical which makes it has always made it popular with a young audience. For those of you who don't know, Rent began as a stage show in New York in 1996 and I believe is still going to this day. It was a huge phenomenon and developed a vast fanbase, affectionately known as Rent-heads. The good thing is, almost all the main cast (with the exception of Joanne and Mimi) are the original Broadway cast and have been singing these songs for over a decade as they know their characters, the songs, the story and each other pretty well. The two newbies blend seamlessly with the rest of them and fit well in the group.

All the cast are pretty amazing, which I suppose is to be expected. Idina Menzel (Maureen, and also current star of Wicked) is incredible and has the most amazing voice. Anthony Rapp (Mark) is very sweet, as is Adam Pascal (Roger), and Colin, Angel and Joanne are all excellent. I thought Rosario Dawson as Mimi was fantastic and very realistic. She also has an incredible voice.

Director Chris Columbus does an excellent job with this, especially since I think it was his first musical. I've heard it is a very faithful adaptation which is also good. You have to keep an open mind when watching it - read the plot above and you'll see what kinds of things it is about. It is very much a musical for the younger generation and it is still as fresh, if not quite as shocking, as it was ten years ago. So watch it. It is a great example of how musicals can be gritty and real and not all airy-fairy as some people imagine. We need more of this ind of stuff.

A

Talliestar xxx

[They all walk into a cafe]
Waiter: No, no, no, not tonight!
Mark: What?
Waiter: You always come here and never order a thing all night!
Mark: Not true, last week I had a tea!
Waiter: You couldn't pay.
Mark: Oh yeah...

2 Comments:

Blogger The Good Girl said...

Don't you hate spam? Anyway.. I must see this movie.

12:39 PM  
Blogger talliestar said...

Urgh, go away spam. I'll delete you later. Anyway, yes Liv, the next time we have a sleepover we are so going to watch this movie. You know, I still haven't sent the DVD back yet. I can't bear to part with it!

10:30 AM  

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