Tackling RENT is a feat for any group, yet alone a company of 14-19 year olds, and Starbuck Theatre Company’s youth theatre group certainly impressed with their performance within the intimate walls of Malvern Coach House.
With strong voices from the outset, when the group joined together they created a powerful wall of sound. All individual performers shone in their respective parts and with no one older than 19, it proves how important youth theatre's are - providing an outlet to cultivate this exciting new talent.
Under the direction of Sarah Pavlovs, she has brought out the confidence in so many of these individuals, some of which had never performed in a lead role before!
At the centre of the story is Mark, the filmmaker, and Michael Hill was perfect for this role, from vocals to characterisation, he was Mark. Introducing the audience to the array of colourful characters, we quickly meet Roger (Jack Giblen). During an attempt to write ‘one great song’, a knock at the door introduces us to Mimi, the Catscratch Club dancer. In a very well conceived performance of Light My Candle, Jack Giblen’s suitably gravelly vocals complemented Olivia Mitchell’s rich tone and they brought out a pure poignancy in Goodbye Love in the second act. Giblen and Mitchell individually made their mark, with particular highlights including Out Tonight and One Song Glory.
Covering important social issues, including addiction and homophobia, the group approached the piece with utter integrity and maturity. Tears were welling as Angel passed away in the second half - a beautiful performance from 16-year old Josh Grainger in this challenging role. Paired exceptionally well with Sam James as Collins, his velvety tones resonated through the room. I’ll Cover You (Reprise) was exceptional, as the group joined together with rousing harmonies, it was incredibly moving.
Susannah Greenow packed a punch as Joanne, with a voice that soared above the ensemble numbers, whilst Katie McCann made for a feisty Maureen with an excellent performance of Over The Moon. But the shining moment came when they joined together for Take Me Or Leave Me, tight harmonies and cattiness aplenty resulted in a brilliant duet.
There were also some great cameos came from Lizzie Jones as Alexi Darling and Lucy Darby as Mrs Cohen, but the whole cast should be entirely proud of their achievements in this show, they performed with absolute conviction.
Singing with a track can sometimes cause difficulties, but it was abundantly clear that this group knew exactly what they were doing. Delivering a passion-fuelled performance it was an extremely touching show that I had the pleasure to witness. Watch out for these performers, they will go far. Congratulations Starbuck!
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