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Celebrating Seasons of Love: Rent Manila 2010 Review

It was minutes after sundown, people gathered once again on an auditorium somewhere in Makati to witness a phenomenal musical written by an equally phenomenal songwriter and playwright, Jonathan Larson.

Well for most of the people this could be the second time they will witness this musical live since Rent has been produced here in Manila way back in 2001. But young people like me didn't got the chance to watch the show.  So this moment is a very special one for me, because this is my first time to watch Rent Live.

The moment I entered Carlos P. Romulo Auditorium in RCBC plaza, I already felt the cold breeze of Air conditioning.  It is really that cold. It is as if you are really in New York city, walking on the cold winter night.  The set also compliments the cold temperature.  The set is well designed topped with intricate details.  It is a good representation of the main cast's apartment that is mostly made up of rusty metal and dusty bricks.  Mio Infante's creative mind brought the bohemian's dilapidated home in Avenue B to a magnificent work of art that is Broadway worthy.

After minutes of waiting the lights dim and Roger Davis (Gian Magdangal) starts plucking his guitar while trying to make a song.  Then Mark Cohen (Fredison Lo) also entered the scene together with some other characters who hides among the shadows presumably casts who are yet to be introduced later on the show. 

Just like what I expect.  They did a pretty good job on getting the right actors who will play on this production.  The veteran casts never failed to deliver a magnificent  job on stage.  The Newbies on the other hand did an equally splendid performance to show they have what it takes to be on a major production like Rent.  Several names stand out among the ensemble of characters like OJ Mariano who captivates us with his heart wrenching portrayal of Collins during the death of his Love.  He makes the crowd cry with his natural tears showing very realistic emotions of a lover who lost his better half. 

The pair of Mimi and Roger always fascinates me and I'm so happy with Gian Magdangal and Nicole Asensio's rendition of the star crossed lovers.  Nicole embodies Mimi's sexy and aggressive personality while Gian is effective as the quiet passive pretty boy front-man Roger.  Many people noticed that Nicole's voice is inappropriate to her role.  True enough, Mimi's character performs with a sweet, high soprano voice in contrast to Nicole's thick voice.  But despite the voice discrepancy, I still find Nicole's voice sexy and it still works well with her performance.  Her performance could be different to the Mimi we know, bottom line is she delivered a very good performance that deserves a praise.

I also want to congratulate Peachy Atilano's debut performance as part of the ensemble.  It is really true that big things come from small packages.  Playing multiple characters is hard, I should know.  And I really find her portrayal of Mark's mom very cute.

But despite the special mentions, the whole cast obviously gave a good performance.  Thus they deserve an standing ovation after singing the Finale song.   I would want to extend my biggest congratulations to the whole cast and to Director Robbie Guevara for the job well done.  Rent is one of my favorite musical and you just make me love it more.  Good work 9works Theatrical.

Viva La Vie Boheme!!!

Special thanks to Mr. Toots Tolentino and Jonjon Martin for the warm welcome during the press night.

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