Last Saturday night, my date and I caught the Slow Burn Theatre Company’s production of “Rent” at the West Boca Raton Community College in Palm Beach County. Admittedly, I am a news reporter so if you continue to read this review, please keep that in mind.
First and foremost, I found the production outstanding. Based on the book, lyrics and music by Jonathan Larson, Slow Burn Theatre’s “Rent” is an amazing journey into the lives of several complex characters struggling in their urban setting.
Sean McClelland’s set design is superb with chain link fences and the band situated perfectly in the middle, almost concealed to the naked eye, yet their music comes through loud and clear. The West Boca Performing Arts Theatre, it should be noted, is an excellent venue for sound quality.
Rick Pena’s brilliant costuming displays a punkish and rebellious spirit in the characters who are confronted with homelessness, disease, poverty and drug addiction. Abby Perkins’ portrayal of Mimi Marquez is especially moving. In the“Light My Candle” duet with Bruno Faria, who plays musician Roger Davis, Perkins is full of sassy, sexy intrigue.
Another high point of the show is the lesbian standoff between Joanne and Maureen, played by Christina Alexander and Amy Miller Brennan. In “Take Me or Leave Me” these women clearly excel in their singing and acting and produced one of the night’s biggest applauses.
For those who are charity minded, Friday night’s (April 24) performance is a fundraiser for HIV/AIDS outreach programs at the Pride Center in Wilton Manors. Showtime is 8 p.m. After this weekend, the production is scheduled to move to the Aventura Arts & Cultural Center for a one week engagement. For more information, visit www.slowburntheatre.org