Tick…tick…BOOM

Reviewed by Iris Winston

Tick..tick…Boom
Photo Maria Vartanova

 

 

 

Tick…tick BOOM, book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson, Script adaptation by David Auburn,  Orpheus Musical Theatre Society

The countdown on the chance of success as a composer is near. Jon (aka Jonathan Larson) sees his thirtieth birthday as the deadline for delivering a hit musical or leaving theatre for a lucrative alternative.

Therefore, anxiety and anger have equal time in his autobiographical chamber musical tick…tick…BOOM! Originally written as a solo rock monologue mourning the fact that the workshop of his musical, Superbia, did not progress to full production, David Auburn (author of the play Proof) turned the show into a piece for three performers after Larson’s death: the anxious composer, his girlfriend, Susan, and his best friend, Michael.

 

Eclectic in musical style, emotionally slight and with little opportunity for the additional characters to shine, despite slipping into numerous cameos, tick…tick…BOOM! was drowned into oblivion following the huge success of Larson’s 1996 award-winning musical Rent. (Ironically, as Larson predicted in tick…tick…BOOM! time ran out for him. He died suddenly three months before Rent premiered on Broadway.)

As directed by Gordon Guest, with musical direction by Wendy Berkelaar, the Orpheus Musical Theatre Society revival of tick…tick…BOOM! is fast moving, as melodic as the music allows and often funny. One of the most amusing moments is when Michael (Kenny Hayes) takes over from Susan (Andréa Black) as Jon’s agent, Rosa. But most of the time, the show belongs to Andy Allen McCarthy as Jon, particularly as there is little obvious chemistry among the three performers. The combination of McCarthy’s strong performance and the retention of the monologue format force Michael and Susan into the background, so that Black’s fine singing receives little recognition and Hayes’ characterization is somewhat shadowy.

The Orpheus production of tick…tick…BOOM! continues in the Centrepointe Studio Theatre to September 24.

Director: Gordon Guest

Musical director: Wendy Berkelaar

Choreographer: Debbie Guilbeault

Set: Blair Laugher

Lighting: Barry Sims

Sound: Mark Tye

Costumes: Bebe Brunjes

Cast:

Jon……………………………….Andy Allen McCarthy

Michael………………………….Kenny Hayes

Susan…………………………….Andréa Black

 


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