First Call, Last Call

First Call

THE NEW booking period for Jonathan Larson's modern musical, Rent (right), has now opened. It has a touch of the high-brow with Puccini's La boheme as inspiration, a sprinkle of modernism via the social motif of Nineties' Manhattan, and heavy subject matter - addiction, Aids and fatal relationships. But it's determined to override doom and gloom, with a happy ending and reverent political correctness. It's one of few musicals to which you can take all the family.

Shaftesbury Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London WC2 (0171-379 5399) booking to 15 May 1999

Last Call

FIERCELY CHIC Regular Fries definitely don't live up to their name. Some have called them big beat tag (don't ask), and they create even more confusion with their self-styled "art-rock-eclectic" collective. This week they release their first EP since signing with Junior Boys Own, Free the Regular Fries, and their tour draws to a close on Friday.

Concorde, Brighton (01273 606 460) tonight; The Talk of London, London WC2 (0171-405 1516) 23 Sept; Reading Alleycat (0118-956 1116) 25 Sept