Tick, Tick…BOOM! at Park Theatre
Remember what it was like turning 30 in New York, 1990? If not, Tick, Tick…BOOM! will enlighten us. This autobiographical rock musical, written by Jonathan Larson pre-Rent, serves as an exploration of the composer’s life as he struggled as a starving artist writing musicals. It takes place in the week before Jonathan turns 30 and is plagued by doubts about his creative endeavours and latest piece of work Superbia, his girlfriend’s desire to move to suburbia, and his best friend’s rise in the corporate world. Directed by Bronagh Lagan, the intimate setting of the Park Theatre heightens this evocative, hilarious, anxiety-ridden musical, which truly illuminates what musical theatre lost with Larson’s untimely death in 1996.
Tick, Tick…BOOM! is at its best when it doesn’t take itself seriously. While the plot is slightly predictable, the production really shines when the three-piece cast break into comedic numbers and routines. One of the many homages to Stephen Sondheim, Sunday, follows Jon (Chris Jenkins) as he serves patrons at a diner. The outcome – the song, the choreography, the acting – is hilarity in its purest form. This is also true for No More; as Michael (Jordan Shaw) shows Jon his new apartment the two break into a number that would speak to anyone who’s spent a considerable time renting. However, tender moments are common throughout; Karessa’s (Gillian Saker) Superbia solo and Jon’s Why are powerful and poignant in their own right.
Unfortunately, the last 15 minutes don’t make much sense, feeling somewhat rushed, and the final song doesn’t really seem to tie into the rest of the play. But Tick, Tick…BOOM! makes for a enjoyable show. The strong performances, choreography and music, played by a live band, are terrific, and together with the intimate setting deliver an explosive exploration of an anxious creative genius who, as we know, changed the landscape of musicals forever.
Photo: Claire Bilyard
Tick, Tick…BOOM! is at Park Theatre from 3rd until 27th May 2017, for further information or to book visit here.
Watch a trailer for Tick, Tick…BOOM! here: