Rent is set in 1989. It deals with drug addiction, AIDS, and above LOVE. It’s based on the Opera La Boheme. (Just like Moulin Rouge is.) We follow Marc and his friends through a year of life. The struggle to keep your identity in a shifting world, dealing with the fear of dying, and keeping true to your own ideals plays out in every day life.
A little bit of background, I’ve seen the play four times now, listened to the cast album until I memorized every line and can quote any character you like. I was utterly terrified that I would hate this movie. The only way I could conceptualize it being done was as Marc’s documentary and I thought that would be just wrong.
I was *very* much surprised. It was jarring at first to hear lines that are usually sung spoken. I did miss one of the numbers that was cut out. Still, it was easy to get used to the new format. The actors were so comfortable in their roles and with each other, that their friendship rang true. The minor changes in the scripting and the time-lines is easy to understand and doesn’t change the story much. They’ve worked out the strange timing issues that exist in the play.
The staging was brilliant. Tango Maureen was a huge laugh. And Take me or Leave me definitely had its moments. I still teared up in the usual places: One Song, Glory, Without You, and I’ll Cover You Reprise.
I can’t wait for the DVD now, because they’ve promised to have the scenes that were cut as special features.
If you’ve seen the play, you’ll enjoy the movie. If you haven’t seen the play, you’ll still enjoy the movie. But if you haven’t seen the play. You *have* to see it.