Tick, Tick…BOOM! (Park Theatre)

Posted: May 22, 2017 in Theatre


Jonathan Larson’s big Broadway success came with Rent in 1996, knowledge of which adds a sense of satisfaction to this 1990 musical autobiography, just as knowledge of Larson’s eventual fate add a sense of poignancy. Expanded from a monologue and first staged in New York in 2001, Tick, Tick…BOOM! centres around Larson’s early life crisis, his 30th birthday, as he sees the clock ticking while he is making very little progress with his mission to drag musical theatre into the 1990s.

Stephen Sondheim once wrote a musical about a New Yorker reaching a landmark birthday and the company he keeps and what we see here feels very much like a miniaturised variation on that show. It is suggested that the great man was to become Larson’s mentor and, to put icing on the cake, this show’s wittiest song is a Sondheim pastiche, all about Sunday (brunch) in the park. Branagh Larson’s studio production is given warmth and energy by Chris Jenkins as Jonathan, Gillian Saker as his girlfriend Susan and Jordan Shaw as his roommate Michael. Unlike Rent, this is not a show to set the world alight, but, as a quietly enjoyable hour and a bit of fringe theatre, there is very little to dislike about it.

Performance date: 18 May 2017

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