Impressions: tick, tick…BOOM!

tick…tick…tick… As I write, a clock on the shelf above my desk ticks.  My watch ticks.  My heart beats.  tick…tick…tick… the sound of one man’s mounting anxiety.  Tick, tick, Boom! is the autobiographical story of composer Jonathan Larson.  Jon lives in New York City, an aspiring composer, he is nearing his thirtieth birthday and is worried that he has made the wrong career choice.  His girlfriend wants to get married and move out of the city (Tick,), his best friend is making big bucks on Madison Avenue (Tick…), yet Jon is still waiting on tables and trying to write the great American musical (Boom!).  Larson began performing the piece as a solo work in 1990 but following his death in 1996, it was revised by playwright David Auburn as a three-actor piece.

Dynamic Theatre Productions presents a bright, young company of actors to deliver what is undoubtedly one of my favourite shows.  Joe Taylor as Jon is deliciously adept, though very young, he brings tender feeling to the character and moves seamlessly from scene to song.  Katie Bernstein as Susan is divine, playing the role playfully with smooth comfort and Chris Britton as Michael is confident yet suitably sensitive.  The play is in many ways almost a parody, with playful jesting and links to Jonathan’s life and musical number “Sunday” a humorous homage to “Sunday in the Park with George” by Stephen Sondheim, one of Larson’s biggest influences.

Though this may not be the most secure of performances, the youthful innocence brought by these young actors gives great life to this piece.  The musical numbers are fabulously enjoyed in almost orgasmic fashion, tears flowing.  I cannot praise highly enough the raw quality of these performances twinned with the absolute strength of what is in my mind, arguably Larson’s best work.  I implore you to follow the message of this piece and hold onto your dreams, even through life’s most difficult challenges.

Runs at the Unity Theatre, Liverpool 9th & 10th March 2010.

theatreJunki © 2010


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