Seasons of Larson review at the Lyric Theatre, London – ‘a moving tribute’
In 1996, in the morning before the first preview of his new musical Rent, Jonathan Larson unexpectedly died of an undiagnosed heart condition. Following his tragic passing, Rent went on to become a huge success, capturing the imagination of a whole new generation of performers on Broadway and around the world.
While UK productions have never quite matched the success of Broadway, Rent remains hugely popular with young theatregoers and Seasons Of Larson is an apt tribute to a composer whose work bridges the gap between soaring rock anthems and traditional narrative musical theatre.
Songs such as What You Own, One Of These Days and Break Out The Booze will resonate with aficionados of a conventional Broadway style but it’s numbers like Louder Than Words and the signature Seasons Of Love that perhaps typify the trajectory of Larson”s work.
Krysten Cummings is a firecracker of a performer, lending physical power and immediacy to Out Tonight and gleeful comic timing to the Therapy duet with Debbie Kurup. Kurup, herself a veteran of the original West End production, now lends a gentle maturity to Mimi’s Without You. Anton Stephans barely holds it together emotionally for I’ll Cover You but ultimately this evening is one of celebration and the Love Heals finale is satisfyingly up-beat.
Seasons Of Larson may look and sound a little rough around the edges but musical director Gareth Bretherton has chosen his pieces well and gathered a vibrant selection of voices to do justice to Larson’s legacy.