tick, tick... Boom!

Jonathan Larson
Bridge House Productions
Bridge House Theatre

Alex Lodge as Jon Credit: Jamie Scott-Smith
Georgie Ashford as Susan Credit: Jamie Scott-Smith
James Hume as Mike Credit: Jamie Scott-Smith

There’s only so long a writer or actor can give to the uncertain life of trying to get work in theatre before they decide to give it up. The sacrifices most people have to make can drive a person crazy.

The composer Jonathan Larson knew this from his own experience of trying to write musicals while waiting tables in a diner for nine years and living in a loft that had no heating.

It is the basis for his autobiographical musical for three characters tick, tick… BOOM! given a very fine performance at the Bridge House Theatre.

On the wall of the character Jon’s apartment is a calendar for 1990, the year of Jon’s thirtieth birthday. He is apprehensive. Although there’s to be a workshop performance of his show Superbia, he is not convinced it will be a success and he feels he is running out of time.

Asking his friend Mike (James Hume), “don’t you ever miss acting?” Mike replies, “I don’t miss starving.”

His girlfriend Susan (Georgie Ashford) is also tired of the hand to mouth existence and is moving away. In the process, she is ending their relationship.

Sitting on the roof, he reflects on the way people born after 1960 are no longer idealistic faced with conservative complacency, the unimaginative George Bush and the continuing devastation of AIDS.

Yet, despite his fears, there is a hopefulness in the way he talks, in the uplifting quality of much of the music and in the wit of the lyrics given a stunning performance by Alex Lodge.

His final song, calls for us to “wake up and shake the nation” and asks “why does it take catastrophe to start a revolution? If we’re so free, tell me why… so many people bleed?… Cages or wings, which do you prefer?”

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna

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