BASINGSTOKE Amateur Theatrical Society (BATS) took many risks deciding to perform Rent - but it was a risk worth taking and every decision has paid off. 

Over the last few years, Basingstoke has been guaranteed a fun night out at the theatre with BATS who have recently performed hits like Elf - The Musical, Sister Act, Shrek, and Oliver!.

But, this time around they went in a completely different direction with Rent - Jonathan Larson's multi-award-winning musical, that follows a year in the life of a group of struggling young artists in New York’s East Village in the mid-1990s.

Tackling topics like drug abuse, sexuality, homelessness, mental health, and the impact of HIV/AIDS, Rent is a tough musical to master - but BATS have done it justice. 

If performing such a tough musical wasn't hard enough, a number of the main cast members are braving leading roles for the first time. 

Luannsa Goodman gave a moving performance as Mimi Marquez, and even tackled a costume malfunction like a pro. 

Likewise, Tom Boncey as Angel Dumott Schunard took the difficult role in his stride and was a convincing partner to James Young, who played Angel's lover Tom Collins. In the second act, they both mastered some of the more emotional scenes as Angel succumbs to HIV/AIDS. 

Jack Baldwin confidently leads the musical as Mark Cohen, a struggling musical director who narrates the whole performance. 

In the opening show on Tuesday, May 16, Jade Williams earned the biggest roar from the crowd as Maureen Johnson.

This was no doubt thanks to the effortless comedy interjected into Over The Moon which took a risky twist on the classic performance but absolutely paid off and had the whole audience laughing. 

Rent may not have been as vocally confident as other BATS performances in the past, but the passion, dedication and determination to give these characters some truth was evident in the brilliant acting from all leads. 

BATS is evidently determined to tell an emotional story that still resonates today, and the group is determined that their performance impacts outside the theatre.

Teenagers from local schools and colleges were invited to attend a community performance for free and encouraged to interact with local charities and support networks before the show. 

Rent is on at The Haymarket from May 17 until May 20 and tickets can be purchase online at