Rent Party by name, party by nature, with a pre-show dance workshop and moves and music to get your evening off to a satisfying swing. Taking its name and inspiration from the 1920s New York trend for artists throwing an open house to raise funds to pay for the roof over their heads, Rent Party has already received rave reviews from its Sheffield run – garnering five stars from everything from Gay Times to The Stage. Self-described as “a performance installation”, the immersive experience is half-show, half-shindig, with the audience entertained by a group of dancer, singer and musician friends. Taking the work of gay black poet Langston Hughes as a starting point, co-writers Darren Pritchard, Cheryl Martin and dramaturg Sonia Hughes have created a picture of what it means to be young, gifted and black in 21st-century Austerity Britain… oh, and poor and gay. All three have a long association with Contact and main director Pritchard has also worked closely with indie theatre company Quarantine as well as setting up House of Suarez (leading lights in the international vogue ball scene). Joining forces with producer (and DJ, promoter and founder of label Switchflicker Records) Jayne Compton was a masterstroke for Rent Party: Compton used to run the innovative and award-winning Club Brenda night which, for well over a decade, fused together music, art, poetry and performance. It was always Compton’s ambition to take Brenda’s club format to the theatre – almost ten years ago, she outlined her plans in so-hip-it-hurts arts and culture magazine Aesthetica. And here we are now, vogueing in our theatre seats.
Wed 10–Sat 13 Oct, The Klondyke, 1 Burnage Range, Manchester M19 2HQ, Tel: 0161 274 0600, 8pm (dance workshop 7pm), £10-15, www.contactmcr.com
Published on: Thu 4 Oct 2018