Review: Tick, Tick...BOOM!
4.0Overall Score

Cages or wings, which do you prefer? That’s the one quote from the recent production of Tick, Tick…BOOM! at The Old Joint Stock which really stuck in my mind after a truly fantastic 90 minute performance.

A rather moving tribute to the life and work of the late Jonathan Larson, Tick, Tick….BOOM! is an autobiographical piece which follows the story of Jon (Joshua Dowen), a budding writer and composer who is searching for his big break.

As Jon’s 30th birthday looms he realises he hasn’t achieved what he set out to do all those years a go. With a workshop of his new musical, Superbia just a week a way, Jon begins to doubt himself and his work, posing the big question we’ve all asked ourselves from time to time ‘What am I doing?’.

Rhys Owen plays Michael, Jon’s supportive best friend who would literally do anything for his friend. Working for ‘The Man’ in a corporate office, Michael tries to support Jon by getting him a meeting with the marketing team. Things don’t go to plan though as the two worlds collide, causing fractures in a lifetime of friendship.

As with all musicals, there has to be a girl (or guy) involved and in this story it’s Susan, played by Jessica Singer. Despite loving Jon she realises they want different things and has to make a very difficult decision between a quieter life in a small town or a life with Jon in New York.

An incredibly intimate performance, Adam Lacey’s production took place in front of what must have been no more than 50 seats within The Old Joint Stock Theatre. It’s because of this close setting that I enjoyed the performance so much. As the cast did their thing, eye contact with audience was in abundance which drew you in even further to this fantastic performance. A minimal set which included a few sofa seats, a window and plenty of Twinkies, allowed the cast to burst with energy and use all of the limited space in numbers such as ‘Green Green Dress’, ‘No More’ and ‘Sugar’.

I’m ashamed to say this was the first time I’d visited The Old Joint Stock and if this in-house performance is anything to go by in terms of the quality that comes out of it, I shall definitely be back.

It was difficult not to be blown away by the talent of the cast who kept the audience in the room (literally) throughout the single-act performance. It has to be said though, Jessica stole the show in my eyes.

A superb performance all round, Tick, Tick…BOOM! is part of the Jonathan Larson season at The Old Joint Stock and shows until 30th January. For more information and to book tickets visit

About The Author

Editor at large of Polaroids and Polar Bears, PR bod and not-so-secret geek. Chris established Polaroids and Polar Bears in 2013.