The question of how a person really measures the value of their lives and those lives that they effect has always been the heart and soul of the Broadway smash-hit rock opera Rent.
It’s the show that launched American actor Anthony Rapp to cult status with Rent-heads - a band of devoted followers of the iconic show. The show’s backstory is that the writer, Johnathan Larson, never lived to see the hit his musical became; for Rapp losing his friend Larson combines with his mother slowly dying from cancer. Understandably it ensures this will be a period forever locked in his memory.
Rapp has taken the success of his autobiography and transformed it into a beautiful, poignant and engrossing play. We are allowed to look into his life and his view of how his participation in Rent makes him who he is now.
Without You is something of very rare quality at the Fringe; you feel privileged to be able to watch it. Everyone can identify with the one aspect that affects us all - loss. Rapp truly shines as he smiles at the happy memories, and sheds a tear at those which break the heart. The show is filled with songs from both Rent and REM. Stunningly rearranged for a five piece band, they add real emotion to the overall production.
Theme park analogies are oft overused, but here is a true roller coaster of a show. Rapp questions how open we are about our emotions and how we deal with the pain. His message is simply to ‘live through’; I totally concur.
The audience are on their feet as Rapp powers through Seasons Of Love to bring it to close, an indication that this run will quickly sell-out both here and when it transfers to the Chocolate Factory in London straight after the Fringe. Go see this unforgettable performer.