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Greater London
posted/updated: 16 Sep 2015 -
tick, tick - BOOM!
Book, music and lyrics by Jonathan Larson
society/company: Sedos (directory)
performance date: 15 Sep 2015
venue: The Bridewell Theatre, Bride Lane, London, EC4Y 8EQ
reviewer/s: Sarah McPartlan (Sardines review)

Sedos has a well-deserved reputation for producing high-quality amateur shows so when the opportunity came up to review their production of tick, tick... Boom!, a show that I have never seen before but by a composer I love, I jumped at the chance.

tick, tick... Boom! tells the autobiographical story of Jon, an aspiring composer who lives in New York City. With Jon’s 30th birthday approaching he begins to hear the tick tick of his life passing by. Jon is concerned that he has made all the wrong choices, particularly where his career is concerned and begins to weigh up if he should sell out on dreams.

Jon is played by Robert J. Stanex and who never left the stage. This role is a big ask of any performer as he carries the whole show and you really have to believe in him for the concept to work and believe in him we did. Stanex was perfect in this role, his voice sat comfortably in all of his songs and he allowed the ranging emotions in each number to soar. You would be hard pressed to find a professional performer who could match Stanex’s portrayal of Jon.

The show was originally performed with 3 actors however Sedos has expanded the cast to eight to brilliant effect as it allowed the pivotal three characters (Jon, his girlfriend Susan and his flatmate Michael) to remain more separate from all the other comings and goings in Jon’s life. There was the odd time however when the stage felt too busy and you missed some small detail or some of the witty lyrics, the song Sunday is one example.

The supporting cast were equally as strong as Stanex, Chris Warner and Abigail Francis, playing Michael and Susan had nice chemistry with Stanex and their voices blended seamlessly. I must also mention Laura Bird who played Karessa. Her performance of Come to Your Senses had the whole audience mesmerised and it was a nice touch to put her in a red version of the ‘green dress.’

The Bridewell has been transformed by fairy lights and lanterns. At times the lighting was slightly dark and the band occasionally overpowered the cast but this is a small gripe in what otherwise was a very technically strong show. The use of space was very effective, the set transformed from Jon’s flat to Michael’s car in a blink of an eye. The set changes were very slick and the show continued on during these changes allowing the emotion to build, especially through act two until the finale where I sat awestruck at the sound and emotion.

Whilst this is a show set in the 1990s Sedos gave it relevance that today’s thirty-somethings could easily attest to thus making Jon’s anxiety and dilemma even more poignant. It is clear that Sedos' reputation for being one of the premier amateur dramatic companies is here to stay!

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