Review: Chesterfield College students excel in Rent

Risque and risky go hand in hand in Rent, the Nineties’ musical.

Free love, drug-taking, HIV and Aids are stark themes in a show focusing on an artistic community squatting in a rundown block in New York.

Rent, performed by Chesterfield College, at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield, from June 21 and 22.

Rent, performed by Chesterfield College, at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield, from June 21 and 22.

Putting across the whole tale in song while making it comprehensible is the risky part, relying on vocal clarity and strong characterisation.

Chesterfield College performance arts students rise to the challenge in this week’s production at the Pomegranate Theatre.

Sharp, slick and beautifully performed, this thought-provoking production makes the audience laugh and cry.

Lucy Jenkinson plays Mimi, the exotic dancer with a a drug habit. She seduces the audience with her sexy moves and singing in signature solo Out Tonight.

Leading man Ben Featherstone sparkles as good guy Roger, a try-hard musician aiming for a hit before he dies. Ben and Lucy’s knockout rendition of Without You tugs the heart-strings with its emotion rolling out to the audience like a tidal wave.

Tyler Brealey playing flamboyant drag queen Angel who is cut down by Aids, Jasmine Elliot as over-the-top performance artist Maureen and Jacob Wolstenholme as film-maker Mark bring awesome stage presence to the show.

Rent is a team-work triumph in which the cast sing and dance up a storm, accompanied by an on-stage band which is housed under a tiered structure.

The production is directed by Kerry Dooley and Becky Parker, the latter responsible for choreography, with musical direction by Jonathan Francis.

Rent continues its run at the Pomegranate Theatre, Chesterfield, this afternoon (Wednesday, June 22) at 2pm and tonight at 7.30pm.