Tick Tick could give The Wolf of Wall Street a run for its money when it comes to the frequency of “Fuck”. Writer, director and actor Rachel Heritage plays Robin, a university student in her second year with as much reason to swear as she has tendency to. Everything, and I mean everything, in her life seems to be falling apart. Left to fend for herself by friends, family and employers, Robin suffers under the pressures of student life.
a vivid impression of a hopeless situation
At the beginning of the play, we meet Robin suffering after an indulgent night out which she couldn’t quite afford. By the end, she is suffering with a plethora of other and worsened problems which the audience have suffered through watching her accumulate. Heritage is a confident performer, skilled at cultivating a sympathetic audience relationship. The stronger moments of the script incorporate commentary on how sellable the female breakdown has become in modern entertainment, and her frank and defiant acting style suits this well. An effective, if cliched, drinking and dancing sequence near the climax sees The Killers' Mr Brightside stereotypically scoring some drunk antics, which are notoriously hard to act. Here, Heritage’s otherwise naturalistic performance erupts into a physical expression of torment. This is a memorable moment, but I am not sure Heritage is successful at portraying such heightened emotion throughout, and it somewhat comes out of the blue.
The set is minimalist but dynamic, capable of easily representing a number of different settings. The lighting and sound are carefully used to support and create an atmosphere for the action. There is also some clever and opportunisitic use of the space, which makes Tick Tick appear to always have been meant to be performed in this venue. Many fringe shows aren't nearly so settled in.
There are interesting and important subject matters to be explored – poor treatment of minimum wage workers, the temptation and danger of online sex work – but Tick Tick doesn’t always do them justice. It is more concerned with it’s protagonist’s struggle with numerous issues than the nature of those issues themselves. It gives you a vivid impression of a hopeless situation, but leaves you without much to reflect on afterwards.