Review: Rent a ticket to come see “Rent”

Robinson High school portrayal of “Rent” is filled with talent and Humor


Matthew Reinecke (’18), playing the role of Mark Cohen, leads his cast-mates in another musical number.

Nicole Perdigon, Staff Writer

You walk into the Robinson auditorium and pick a seat. As you get comfortable, waiting for the play to begin, you see the lights and the shuffle of feet behind the curtain. You can hear the whispers of the nervous cast radiating from the stage.

Lights! Camera! Action!

The curtain opens and the play begins.

Robinson High School prepares a play every year and this year, Maureen Pelamati, the theatre teacher and advisor, chose “Rent”.

The play is based off of “La Boheme”, an opera by Giacomo Puccini. “Rent” covers a group of friends discovering how they can help each other in their journey through life. The story goes into detail on the lives of these close friends and, considering some of the touchy topics that the play includes, such as AIDS, I am surprised that it passed for a high school play.

But the Robinson cast was able to properly sensor the script, while still portraying the play’s true whit and meaning.

The play begins with roommates Roger Davis [Dillon Williams (‘18)] and Mark Cohen [Mathew Reinecke (‘18)] hanging out in their apartment. Their landlord, Benny Coffin, played by AJ McAffee (‘19), demands rent to finally be paid since it has previously been waived.

The play then moves on to Tom Collin [Mekhi Cusseaux (‘19)], the former roommate of Mark, who has just come back to town and is beaten up and left alone. Collins later meets the play’s drag queen Angel Shunard [Reggie Allen (’19)]. Angel is AIDS positive and will grow to become Collins’ love interest.

If I had to choose a favorite performer from the play I would choose Allen. Every time he walked on stage I knew I was in for a great performance. I don’t know if it was his singing, his presence on stage or a culmination of both, but he added something to the play that couldn’t be replicated.

As the play unfolds we also meet Mimi Marquez [Venessa Fermin (’19)] who becomes Roger’s love interest. Fermin, although playing a difficult role, managed to make her character entertaining. She threw herself into the character and became Marquez in every scene. Fermin’s performance was a close to Allen’s.

And to top it off, Orlea Mattson (’18) added a good, solid presence to the stage. I could easily tell that her passion for performing was there, without over-acting. She wasn’t just a talented singer, she was a performer in every way.

The play had an overall great setting; the people in the audience were respectful and the set appeared to be well constructed. However, the audio throughout the play was flawed, making it difficult to hear the actors and hard to follow the plot.

Nevertheless, some of the performers were able to rise above the technical difficulties. Allen and Kat Scott (’19) in particular projected their voices so the audience could hear them without it sounding like they were shouting. They showed characteristics of true performers as they embraced the show-business cliché: the show must go on.

My favorite scenes were the ones which encompassed the entire cast because those were the moments when it was easiest to hear and understand what was going on. The cast nailed their harmonies and together, had a natural-sounding performance.

The student cast of “Rent” sings the last song of the night, minutes before the curtain closes.

“Rent” strikes a perfect balance between humor, sadness and romance while also touching on serious issues like AIDS and suicide. The show kept me entertained, and I enjoyed the show.

If you are interested in seeing “Rent”, the cast is preforming at Robinson High School on March 7, 8, and 9 in the auditorium. Tickets are $10 a person at the door.