So last night Gerilicious and I went along to see Rent Remixed in the West End.  Now you have to understand that I am somewhat of what they call a "renthead" and I can’t count how many times I’ve seen the live stage show on my fingers, so having said that, I was more than curious to see just how different this remixed version of Rent starring Siobhan Donaghy was going to unfold.

Well, get ready for it…it wasn’t great. 

I could waffle on and on about how it’s a far far cry from the original and why it didn’t work for me personally, but I won’t.  I know that the original storyline has burrowed itself deep inside my head so it’s not fair for me to go on about it – because really last night, I was looking for the tiniest of flaws as compared to the original…so as much as I love a good remix, I don’t think Jonathan Larson’s vision of Rent was supposed to actually look like a Kylie Minogue video.  That’s just me.  I might even possibly go see it again to look at it with a different point of view after I’ve had some good discussions about it with other "rentheads" but for now – let’s talk about what I liked about it.

Siobhan Donaghy – she’s no Mimi Marquez, but she’s stunning and mostly just "Siobhan Donaghy" throughout the performance.  For anyone who "doesn’t quite get" Siobhan, you might not like her performance, but what she brings to the role is an organic energy and timid emotion that is quite interesting.  She is a vision in white actually when she performs ‘Without You’ which is done in a completely new vein.  It’s like a track that could have been included on her underrated and epically brilliant album ‘Ghosts’.  Siobhan is a very interesting cast for this role and I can see why the producers wanted her and I have to say that I couldn’t help but just focus on her throughout most of the show. 

OK – I seemed to have talked myself into seeing it again while writing this to formulate some more final thoughts, but I’ll leave you with a few of these spoilers for now (if your even slightly interested at all)…

  • Angel isn’t a drag queen.  He’s a muscle-bound shorty with a penchant for high heels and flair.  Like Angel’s role – he totally steals the show.
  • The whole stage is gleaming with white and silver…
  • Mark seems to be a posh gay boy with big muscles and a haircut that Zac Efron would die for.  I had to laugh out loud when his big moment came at the end of ‘La Vie Boheme’ when Maureen (Denise Van Outen) strips off his shirt to expose his perfect pecs, nipples and guns.  I think Anthony Rapp might cringe if he saw this…but strangely enough all the gays in the audience were in a trance…
  • There is a bit o’ Madonna’s ‘Holiday’ and some Prince samples re-worked into the songs…
  • ‘Tango Maureen’ is really good – the guy who plays Mark knows how to dance.
  • The chic who plays Joanne is really good too…I found myself strangely attracted to her.
  • The guy who plays Roger is passable – I remembered I saw him in Taboo and his version of ‘One Song Glory’ isn’t half bad – he’s got some talent.
  • Angel’s death scene looks like a hot performance of ‘Keep It Together’ from Madonna’s Blonde Ambition Tour…
  • There is no way that Siobhan could have pulled off ‘Out Tonight’ like the original role, so instead she performs it in a burlesque playboy black satin type number/style and it was good…except it was totally laughable when she burst into the number and the two girls who were doing a life support scene transform into her backing dancers.  Yikes!

The actors aren’t bad – some of them a little green, but overall – the vision for the show just might leave a serious renthead a little underwhelmed and disappointed, despite the standing ovation it got.  It’s the first time I saw the show live and didn’t cry though…but if it weren’t for Siobhan Donaghy, I don’t know if I would have saw the new production to begin with.

Update:  And the renthead reviews start flowing in