The Last Five Years
Review by Lynette Watson
In a nutshell, The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown is a bitter sweet musical that centres around the relationship of two people Cathy, a struggling actress and Jamie, a published author, falling in and out of love over five years. It can be slightly confusing at times to understand the unconventional structure of the plot as both characters’ journeys are delivered in reverse, Cathy’s from the end of their marriage with Jamie’s from the beginning but the two skilful actors draw the audience in and evoke empathy for them both.
Beautifully filmed sequences follow their relationship and the still images play an important role throughout including a subtle Lego animation, a smashed wedding photograph and the poignant final shot of Jamie’s note and wedding ring set against an upturned canister of spilt salt with their lives briefly colliding on the wedding day before going in different directions.
Both Danielle Sanders and Keiran Whelan-Newby as Cathy and Jamie respectively, equally match each other vocally tackling a variety of musical styles with confidence and power, Danielle especially in her delivery of ‘I’m Still Hurting’ contrasting with the enigmatic ‘I Can Do Better than That!’ while Keiran in his ‘The Schmuel Song’ and ‘Nobody Needs to Know' definitely portrays his ability to tell a story through song.
This was an enthusiastic, raw and intense production emotionally charged and although it isn’t your typical musical accompanied only by excellent pianist Felix Surbe, it unequivocally works.