Melton Musical Theatre Company pay their dues with Rent – Review

Ben Maxwell as the transvestite with fellow principal characters EMN-150318-092525001
Ben Maxwell as the transvestite with fellow principal characters EMN-150318-092525001
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The Melton Mowbray Musical Theatre Company must be applauded for staging what some might call a brave choice of show, writes John Gordon-Saker.

Twenty years on from its debut, Rent might not be considered quite so controversial with HIV and AIDS seemingly having a lower news profile, despite 1.5 million deaths worldwide last year.

Cast members starring in Melton Musical Theatre Company's latest production Rent EMN-150318-092126001

Cast members starring in Melton Musical Theatre Company's latest production Rent EMN-150318-092126001

However, other social issues explored in the musical, such as poverty, youth unemployment and drug addiction, are just as relevant today.

Director Bernice Rowan extracts every ounce of struggle from an excellent, young, high energy cast swelled by performing arts students from Brooksby Melton College.

The 40-plus ensemble oozes class and composure with strong leading performances from Tom Fox, Jak Beasley, Ben Maxwell, Victoria Ingram, Emilyjo Garside, Josh Gallagher, Kate Watkins and Jonny Fawkes, none of whom would seem out of place on a professional stage.

The intimacy and layout of the theatre suits the dramatic staging which draws the audience in to scenes of love, despair and toe-tapping musicality that literally hits all the high notes under the care of musical director James Gutteridge.

It is rare something so bold is staged in our small provincial town, which is definitely more reason to go than stay away.

So book your tickets and, while on the emotional rollercoaster, ask yourself how Angel manages not to fall in such high heels.

* Performances run nightly from 7.30pm at Melton Theatre until Saturday.

For tickets call 01664 851111 or book online at www.meltontheatre.co.uk