Best know for originating the role of Mark in Jonathan Larsons' musical Rent, Anthony Rapps' show Without You is a one man masterpiece, a tour de force full of love, heartbreak and loss, constantly reminding us that there is no day but today.
After a hugely successful run at the Edinburgh Fringe, Without You has transferred to the Menier Chocolate Factory till the 15th of September. It is a performance which reminds you just how powerful theatre can be. Over and over you find hairs standing on the back of your neck, your body swelling with emotion and tears forming in your eyes as Rapp tells the highly personal story of the success behind Rent, the tragedy of Larsons' untimely death and his own mothers battle with cancer.
There's a scene in an episode of Family Guy in which you see one man telling his life story in a terrible stage production. As soon as Rapp comes on the stage and starts telling his story it's difficult to not think of this parody, but the pace, writing and sheer passion behind this show instantly push it from your mind as you find yourself at ease with Rapps' delivery and impressive vocals as he's backed by a tight five piece band. For anyone who has ever listened to the Rent soundtrack it's a joy to hear Rapps' vocals in the flesh as he sings some of the biggest Rent hits. He places those songs from Rent along with a few of his into into an emotionally charged context which reminds you just quite how incredible Larsons' music and lyrics are.
As he tells the story of Rent from his audition through to the opening night, hours after Larsons' tragic death, he weaves in the touching tribute to his own mother, leaving you stunned with grief but above all invigorated with hope and joy. I feel like a better person for having spent 80 minutes watching Without You and just like the lyrics in Season's Of Love it is a show which reminds you to, 'Remember the love.'
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