Adam Rennie - One (Queer) Night Only!

The Court Theatre, Bernard Street, Addington, Christchurch

24/03/2024 - 24/03/2024


Production Details

Created and performed by Adam Rennie

The Court Theatre

Finally returning to The Court Theatre, the star of the 2019 production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Adam Rennie. Be taken on a whirlwind tour of all the queerness, joy and quite frankly pain, that comes with performing some of the biggest roles in Musical Theatre History. Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Rocky Horror, Kinky Boots, Company and more will all make an appearance in what is guaranteed to be a sold out night.

Part of The Court Theatre’s Rainbow Theatre Weekend

Sunday 24 March: 6.30pm

Tickets: $45 per person | Suitable for ages 13+

The Band:
Caelan Thomas - Musical Director/Keys
Toby Pringle - Trumpet/Cello
Gwyn Reynolds - Alto Sax/Tenor Sax
Heather Webb - Guitar
Zak Williams - Drums
Bradley Grainger - Bass

Theatre , Solo , LGBTQIA+ ,

Intimate, personal and impressive performance deserves its standing ovation

Review by Julie McCloy 27th Mar 2024

I’d seen Adam Rennie perform once before, when he starred in Hedwig and the Angry Inch at the Court Theatre in 2019.  That performance left such an impression on me that I knew without doubt I would be going to see him again whenever I could.  So thank you, Court Theatre, for bringing Rennie back to Ōtautahi.

For 70 minutes on a Sunday night in Christchurch he entertains us with a cabaret style show in which we’ve been promised a “whirlwind tour of all the queerness, joy and, quite frankly, pain that comes with performing some of the biggest roles in musical theatre history”. I’m expecting big things. I get all of them and more.

Opening the song is ‘The Origins of Love’ from Hedwig. Sung by a backlit Rennie as the stick-figured picture story unfolds across a screen at stage front, it sets the expectations for all that was to come: poignant lyrics, powerhouse vocals and mesmerising, sequinned showmanship. 

Rennie shares key moments of both his professional and personal journey through his song choices and conversations with the audience. He introduces us to the nine-year-old boy jumping on the trampoline in speedos and an oversized tee shirt, to … well, the grown man, finishing his performance an hour later in the equivalent of speedos and an oversized tee shirt.

That nine-year-old boy didn’t know he was queer but he did realise that he was different, and he would dial down those differences to fit in. Despite adult Adam being an absolute powerhouse performer, wowing crowds big and small, it surprises me to hear that Rennie still feels he sometimes has to dial himself down so as not to miss some professional opportunities. Why anyone wouldn’t want him at full volume, in every sense, is beyond me.

After some jazz numbers, including ‘I Want to Be Happy’ (‘reclaimed’ from his childhood), the affirmation of ‘I’ve Got to Be Me’ and the aspirations of ‘Someone to Watch Over Me’, we turn to the show tunes side of the stage.

His rendition of ‘I Miss the Mountains’ (Next to Normal) gives me goosebumps, and then it is time to kick off the sequinned trousers and meet Frank N Furter. Rennie suggested we google the origin story of his breakthrough in the famous Rocky Horror role (I did. No wonder he received such accolades). Then it is an unforgettable reunion with the feisty, aching Hedwig, a role, Rennie tells us, that kicked the open doors on him embracing his true, authentic self on the stage. Apart from the singing, I am still in awe that he can run and jump on and off stages in those shoes. 

Throughout the show Rennie talks about how being his authentic self, as a queer person, has not been without cost. The risks – physical, mental, emotional and careerwise – take their toll. To find your place and your people, and to live your truth unapologetically, takes courage. That makes the gift of Rennie showing up as his real, authentic self all the more special and it is a beautiful experience to be part of. 

We wind down with ‘I’m Coming Home’ from Rocky Horror and ‘It Means Beautiful’ from Everyone’s Talking About Jamie, a musical I wasn’t familiar with until now. The poignancy of the lyrics, the authenticity of his delivery and a better understanding of what this means to Rennie combine to leave me with tears in my eyes.

The man’s voice is stunning, and I have to shout out to the band as well. They work in perfectly with Rennie as he toys with them, but under the leadership of Calen Thomas they never miss a beat or a mark, even when their hair is being tousled. Considering they had less than five days to prepare a set of a dozen or so songs, these are true professionals. Kudos to you all.

I feel very privileged to be part of this intimate, personal and impressive performance, which earned a well-deserved standing ovation. I just hope that we see Adam Rennie back on our stages again soon. I, for one, will be there.


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