‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’ was electrifying.
‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’ was presented at the consummate and well equipped Crete Street Theatre. THAT Production Company certainly took advantage of the impressive facilities for their three-hander production, which explored holding onto your dreams through life’s most difficult challenges.
‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’ is an autobiographical musical by Tony Award-Winning composer, Johnathon Larson, who also created the iconic score for ‘Rent’. The storyline follows Jon Larson and the sacrifices he makes to achieve his big break in theatre. Jon’s girlfriend wants to get married and move out of the city and his best friend is making big bucks on Madison Avenue, all while Jon is waiting tables trying to write the great American musical.
Lighting Design by Daniel Anderson was beautiful and skilful. However, it was occasionally difficult to see the facial expressions of actors because the spotlights were particularly bright. All other aspects of Anderson’s design suited the style of the show and effectively supported the narrative on stage. A highlight included the spotlight movers in ‘No More’ as they added lovely textures and tones to the high energy, up-tempo number.
Projections by Lachlan Van Der Creek were used at the back of the stage to signify the setting for each scene. These were crafted very carefully with Set Designer/Director Timothy Wynn, who also constructed an impressive, simple and effective set. The grandest moment of the show, where all elements were realised, was when Jon’s musical began and the curtain rose to reveal ‘Superbia: A New Musical’. The timing of the reveal and the high impact stakes were beautifully conceived.
Wynn’s direction delivered a slick and virtually flawless rendition of ‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’. The comedic timing was well delivered and Wynn had a clear and distinctive vision of where he wanted to take the show. At times, Wynn could have utilised the set and large stage more frequently within the show, as it was sometimes unclear whether the actors were inside a building or outside. Perhaps adding more props, sound effects or backdrops could have helped identify the context of poignant moments within the show. Wynn has a very particular staging style and frequently implements interesting angles into his blocking, unfortunately, this meant that there were backs to the audience and lost dialogue. Costumes, also designed by Wynn, were well suited to the style and modern period of the show and brought a contemporary feel to the production.
The up-beat, well-crafted score was placed in safe hands with the very talented Luke Volker at the helm as Musical Director. Volker, on keys, led a band of four, consisting of Kendall Layt on bass, Tom Collins on guitar and Alanna Ritchie on drums. Together, they sounded exceptional and worked seamlessly with the actors; never pushing or overpowering the vocals.
Choreography by Peter Wood was simple yet effective within the space and setting of the show. Wood’s work in the number ‘No More’ was exceptional and showcased his style with an outstanding dance routine that impressed audience members.
Sound Design by Ben Murray was at times unbalanced, making it difficult to hear dialogue and vocals, however, issues were quickly rectified. Murray’s balance within the band was well executed. Stage Manager Chloe Dunn and her crew team including Lionel Habler should also be commended for providing smooth and excellent transitions between scenes, keeping the pace of the show sailing nicely.
In terms of casting, if a director could pick certain performers to do a revival of Larson’s ‘Tick, Tick… Boom!’ on Broadway, Wynn’s selection would be a perfect choice. Stephanie Long as Susan & Others had an impressive vocal range and style. She easily transitioned between a beautifully strong, powerhouse belt voice to a sweet and soothing tone. Through Long’s excellent and diverse characterisation skills, it’s evident she will go far in the musical theatre industry.
Jackson McGovern as Jon had a lovely falsetto and rock ‘n’ roll tone to his voice. However, at times it was very difficult to understand what McGovern was singing as his American accent came through strongly. It was clear McGovern is a seasoned actor and delivered an exceptional performance. Finally, Josh Whitten as Michael & Others had a soft voice but nice lower tone. Whitten’s character grew as the show progressed and his comedic timing was brilliant.
For audience members who missed their chance at seeing ‘Tick, Tick… Boom’, they missed a fantastic production realised and presented by THAT Production Company. This new musical was endearing, energised and a perfect example of local theatre at its finest.
For upcoming events by THAT Production Company, visit their website.