Review: The Last Five Years
The Barron Theatre, 7 May 2011
Rating: 4 / 5
Jason Robert Brown’s one-act musical, The Last Five Years, traces a single relationship from beginning to end and back again, simultaneously. The beginning of the production presents us with a distraught Cathy mourning the end of her relationship with Jamie, who we see at the same time nervous and excited for his first date with her. By the end the role reversals have left us with a crying Jamie with his bags packed and a cheerful Cathy wishing Jamie farewell at the end of their first date.
With current Just So president Emily Muldoon as Cathy and president elect for next year Ashton Montgomery as Jamie, you felt safe to expect an impressive show. The combination of these two sets of powerful vocals and a real understanding of their subject made for a touching representation of two thoroughly realistic and relatable characters. The simplistic set of a modern interior furnished in white provided an elegant backdrop while allowing focus to remain on the two-man cast, and the old clock hanging on the back wall was an ominous reminder of the passage of time, which is such a key theme in the musical. The production was let down only by the Barron’s structural drawbacks, meaning that the majority of the audience spent most of the show watching the rest of the audience crane their necks.
Backed up by a talented set of musicians whose performance of a challenging score was seamless, Montgomery and Muldoon made this a show to remember. The musical’s portrayal of a relationship’s inevitable end, while heartbreaking, was wonderfully realised.
Image by Ella Ormerod