I was very pleased find myself amongst the large audience assembled for Dynamic Theatre’s production of Jonathan Larson’s tick, tick… BOOM! in the Unity Theatre on Wednesday evening. Better known for his musical Rent, Larson’s earlier work is an autobiographical one, telling the story of his existence as a struggling composer in New York, working in a diner and living in a squalid apartment as he waits for his big break.
Adapted after Larson’s death from a self performed, rock monologue (how very 90s), into a three hander by David Auburn, the musical covers similar themes to Larson’s other and perhaps better known work, with references made to both homosexuality and AIDs. Joe Taylor, who took the lead role of Jon in this production, brings Larson’s character to life with a strong portrayal of the frustrated composer. With most of the narrative driven forwards by his narration, delivered straight to audience the other two actors, Katie Bernstein and Chris Britton, find themselves playing multiple roles filling the New York existence of the diner waiter / musical composer.
Having seen Nine, Rob Marshall’s retelling of the 1982 Broadway musical, last night I can really only say one thing: What a disappointment. There is no doubt that the film is spectacular, this is a tale of 1950s movie making against a beautiful Italian backdrop, but as far as its big budget Hollywood blockbuster title status goes I am still asking myself, “why?” Why this musical? Why now? Just why?
Nine sucks us into the tumultuous world of Guido Contini, Italian film director just 10 days away from creating his next masterpiece. It is widely acknowledged, by everyone from Contini himself to a Cardinal that he meets on retreat, that his last two films have been flops. His next piece, however will be a masterpiece called “Italia” and will be the epic tale of the country of Italy. Contini however, it is quickly established, is about as flawed a character as has ever been written. The women appearing in his imagination and his reality appear to do a terrific job of ruling both his life and his sub-conscience.
News has slowly spread that Musical Theatre @ George Square will not be operating as a dedicated musical theatre venue again this summer. No official announcement seems to have been made but companies looking for venues for their 2010 Edinburgh Fringe run have had the news confirmed by the Edinburgh University Festivals Office. The Festivals Office, which previously played a large role in the running of the venue advised looking to other Fringe venues.
Operated as a dedicated home for musical theatre on the Fringe, the venue first opened it doors for the 2008 Fringe with programming and leadership from then Head of Musical Theatre Matters UK and ex-Head of Licensing with Cameron Mackintosh, Chris Grady at the helm. Chris has since moved on to become Head of External Relations at the Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds whilst his job administering Musical Theatre Matters UK has passed to Laoise Davidson. Chris retains chairmanship of the organisation but presumably does not have time to programme and manage a Fringe venue in addition to his new job.