The Last Five Years

The Last Five Years by Jason Robert Brown is one of those shows talked about by Musical aficionados across the world. It is one of those musicals that show up in every community theatre in the country. For The Last Five Years, this is mostly because people assume no one will have ever heard of it. Luckily it is glorious and the show is lived up to well by Patch of Blue Theatre.The musical follows the five-year relationship of a young couple: successful writer Jamie (based on JRB himself) and struggling actor Cathy (allegedly based on his ex-wife). Jamie starts optimistic and overwhelmed at the beginning of their relationship and moves forwards while Cathy commences her story at the tragic end of their marriage and works backwards. Both actors sing alone for the majority of the show until coming together in ‘The Next Ten Minutes’ and splitting apart again. One lover continues forwards to the impending tragedy and the other backwards to their happy beginning. Both actors gave stellar performances. Emily Muldoon managed both the comic and tragic sides of Cathy with precision. Her voice was brilliant and shone in ‘I’m a Part of That’ and her comic awkwardness came out particularly strongly in the audition sequence. Ashton Montgomery as Jamie gave an equally strong comic performance, shown off particularly in The Schmuel Song. Montgomery’s handling of the tragedy of the situation, however, does not grab us in the same way that Muldoon does at the beginning of the musical.These careful, clever performances are surrounded by an intelligent set littered with evidence of time spent together. Unfortunately, the brilliant set and strong performances were marred by blocking issues. The space did not allow for action to happen on the floor but the direction often stubbornly kept the show there, or had the actors looking to the side where only half the audience could see their fascinating expressions. On top of this both performers had trouble in keeping their volume and diction up when they were overcome by feeling and some words were lost by the wayside.These technical problems, however, are not enough to ruin what is essentially a wonderful show to which both actors give their hearts and souls to bring the audience on their equally painful journeys.

The Blurb

Jason Robert Brown's backwards love story is a moving and often funny account of a relationship in freefall. Immersive theatre with beautiful music and film. Follow Cathy and Jamie through their last five years.