I have to admit, I’d never even heard of the show “RENT” until I saw in advertised on ATG – I only booked the tickets because Kerry Ellis was in it! And because Kerry was in it, I knew that I’d have no problem whatsoever convincing my best friend Mel to come with me – Kerry is her idol. Two of our friends from college, Katie and Curtis, were also going but they were in the dress circle and we were in the gallery. We met them outside before the show for a catch up – at which point Katie saw our college “Glee Club” teacher, Tom. Mel was very excited about this and literally jumped up and down shouting “TOM!” So he came over for a slightly awkward chat. As Mel and I climbed up the stairs to the gallery we began to sing Defying Gravity, as you do, and from nowhere we heard Tom’s voice behind us “keep going, Mel!” Awkward!
Even though we were on the second row of the gallery we were still pretty high up (a bit too high up for my liking.) And as we found our row guess who was sat at the end? Yep, Tom. Even more awkward! As well as Kerry Ellis there was Rory Taylor (of ITV’s Superstar) Nikki Davis-Jones (former Elphaba in the West End) Ian Stroughair (an absolute babe – I was determined to meet him) and Tim Prottey Jones (also of ITV’s Superstar.) As the music started you could tell when Kerry walked onto the stage – everyone went mad! I’ve listened to her voice on the We Will Rock You soundtrack hundreds of times but this was the first time I’d seen her perform live and she is absolutely spectacular. Rory (who was my favourite on Superstar… after Nathan James. Sorry Rory) has one of the best rock voices I’ve ever heard live and he worked really well with Kerry. I really enjoyed the first half, but the song “Over the Moon” was quite surreal – Nikki Davis-Jones came on stage and her character, Maureen, starting telling the audience about a dream she had, which involved a cow. At one point she shouted “Moo with me!” and the entire theatre starting mooing. It was downright bizarre but somehow Nikki managed to pull it off. She even flashed her bum towards the end of the act – I half expected it to be green after seeing her as Elphaba. (I wish I could take credit for that joke but it was actually Mel who came up with it.)
First act over, we went to the foyer to fan girl with Katie and Curtis and then it was back up to the gallery for Act Two. Nikki featured a lot more in this act, as did Jemma Alexander who played her partner Joanne. I think Nikki-DJ is the only person who can wear a full length PVC cat suit on stage and still look absolutely stunning. Damn her. In the first act Ian had totally stolen the show for me – his portrayal of Angel was beautiful and hilarious all at the same time, and he looks better in a dress and stiletto boots than I ever will. I fell in love with him and his partner Tom (Leon Lopez) and to say the song “I”’ Cover You” was a heartbreaking would be a gross understatement – I cried like a baby. I won’t say why in case you haven’t seen it, but oh my God, take tissues. Mascara – everywhere. At the end of the show everyone came together to sing Seasons of Love (my favourite song of the show by a mile) and received a seven minute standing ovation from the entire theatre. The notes Tim Prottey-Jones hits in that song are insane! And Beth Humphries who was in the ensemble – what a voice! I didn’t even think there were notes that high but she managed it without even breaking a sweat. Katie Bernstein, another member of the ensemble, also caught my eye. She was in a baby pink over-sized off the shoulder fish-net jumper, leggings and boots and she was a phenomenal dancer. The whole cast was just perfect and they all seemed to get on really well.
After the ovation we ran (I hate running) to the stage door where Katie and Curtis were already waiting for us. Someone popped their head out of the door to say Kerry wouldn’t be out for at least two hours – cue disappointed noises and faces in the crowd. Tim Prottey-Jones came out and signed my ticket (it was way too busy to ask for a picture) and Rory Taylor also came out, but went to the other side of the crowd. Everyone was shouting him and Curtis let out this hilariously creepy whisper of “Rory!” – Which Rory heard! I nearly died laughing. Thankfully he wasn’t scared off and still came over for pictures. Although Katie Bernstein did come out of the stage door, I only knew her as “fit dancer girl” so I didn’t think it would be appropriate to ask for a picture. Ian kept bobbing in and out of the stage door until eventually I just shouted “IAN!” and he came over. I got my hug! And a picture with him and an autograph – he’s an absolute sweetheart. Nikki DJ got mobbed when she came out but we managed to get a picture with her too – although we all look very squished. Mel asked for a cheeky individual picture with her – so so did I! By this time it was coming up to 11pm and Mel and I had a tram to catch at 11.15pm. Literally the second we turned around to leave, Kerry came out of the door. It was chaos! Luckily we were near to the door so we were able to quickly grab a picture each and then we really did have to run. About half way back to the station we passed a taxi rank and hopped in – it’s a good job we did! When we got back to the station, the tram we needed, the last tram of the night, was stopped at a crossing to let us across to the platform. We ran up and along the platform and literally collapsed onto the tram. All in all, a very successful night!