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Theater Review: Rent (Philippines 2010)

February 26, 2010

I finally got tickets for this award-winning play, Rent the Musical! You may be wondering why this review was late, as Rent will be shown here in the Philippines until tomorrow. But you never know, maybe you can still get a ticket.

In watching Rent, I can’t help but compare the original and 9 Works production of the musical.  My verdict? Not good enough.

Gian Magdangal’s version of Roger Davis (a songwriter who is HIV positive) was half -baked. Although he got incredible singing chops, I didn’t feel the angst that he was feeling on that stage. He needs to work on internalizing the character a bit more, in studying his lines too because he failed to convey the emotion on some of the singing parts and build chemistry with the Mimi character. There was an improvement as the conflict unravels in the story, but Gian needs to improve in internalizing and studying his lines. Half-baked acting but awesome singing voice.

Jenny Villegas as Joanne and Nicole Laurel Asensio as dancer Mimi was also flat at some points in the show. Watching the original Joanne, I really saw the reluctance of Jenny Villegas in portraying the character. Consistency of the emotions in the songs are not met. Not much chemistry too with Maureen and Joanne in the show for some reason that I can’t just lay a finger on it. The vibrance and the feistiness of Joanne did not shine in Jenny’s version of the character.

Nicole’s was flat too. Although like Gian, she improved as the story begins to unfold. She needs to internalize her role further to inject the correct emotions in all her lines and all the lyrics that needs to be sung. Their version of Light My Candle was just confusing and boring, I didn’t get it.

Carla Guevara-Laforteza as Maureen Johnson, Fred Lo as filmmaker Mark Cohen, OJ Mariano as Tom Collins, and Job Bautista as Angel Schunard was just fantastic! Before I saw Broadway Rent on video, I was already amazed with how they portrayed their characters. Emotions are at the right places, and Carla was just awesome! She was able to give justice to Maureen and just kick some ass! Great work!

The Ensemble was great too. There are also some standouts that maybe a good Roger only if he have better vocals. Kudos to the production staff and the orchestra for giving justice to the original set and the music. I don’t know if they did it on purpose, but I felt that it was colder in the auditorium during the Christmas scene in the play.

Overall, the performance was okay. The singing talent of the cast was just awesome, but acting can still be improved by some of the actors. I will still watch it again if given the chance.

Rating: 3 out of 5 popcorn kernels

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. bluebaby permalink
    March 1, 2010 3:15 pm

    yes i did watch rent and i agree with you, there is a lack of passion and nicole was indeed flat, needs more practice considering that she sings and comes from a family of singers. She needs to internalize more her role what a pity! Other productions was better kudos to Carla!

    • chinkychinky permalink*
      March 2, 2010 11:17 am

      I know. It seems like they had a fight before the play started or something, there was no chemistry. Although she improved a little as the story develops. :)

  2. Sam permalink
    December 14, 2010 8:17 am

    I hated that they would run out of breath halfway through the song, making the lyrics almost inaudible. It seemed like a dress rehearsal, a bad one at that. I wouldn’t have minded, but the ticket cost P2,500! A little too much for a production like theirs.

    On the shallow side, I also felt like they weren’t dirty enough. Aren’t they supposed to be hungry, broke and diseased? Costumes need a lot of work. And it didn’t feel like the 90’s at all.

    Again, i thought it was impossible to mess up RENT since it thrives on the rawness of the talents.

    I thought wrong.

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