Review: “The Last Five Years”
Written by: Jason Robert Brown, presented by Eventide Theatre Company
What it’s about: The through-sung musical recounts the giddy joy and glow, then disillusionment and pain of a failed romantic relationship in two chronological directions. Writer Jamie starts from the optimism of love beginning and actress Cathy looks back from the sadness and anger of its end.
See it or not? Director Steve Ross and musical director Kevin Quill create a beautifully rendered, poignant piece that is unconventional and complicated in both storytelling and musical style. Engaging actors Beau Jackett and Rebecca Riley are in top form, though listeners would better enjoy their often fast-paced lyrics if the talented musicians pulled back on volume.
Highlight of the show: Brown is remarkable in how he can tell an entire complex story in the space of a song, and a top example is “The Schmuel Song,” a charming fable wonderfully performed by a confident Jackett.
Fun fact: Brown based the story on his own failed relationship, which seems unexpected considering Jamie ends up being the least sympathetic. Riley and Jackett’s performances are so nuanced that audience loyalties and perspectives shift, but Jamie is ultimately less likable.
Worth noting: While knowing about the dueling chronologies is key going in, the timeline gets somewhat muddled in the middle — perhaps as two different memories of a painful past do.
One more thing: During the 19 months since Eventide last offered live shows, several leading lights of Cape Cod theater have died. Ross dedicated the opening-night show to two of the much-missed: Garry Mitchell and Tim Hystad.
If you go: 7:30 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays and 2 p.m. Sundays through Sept. 26 at the Dennis Union Church, 713 Main St. Tickets: eventidearts.org. Proof of COVID-19 vaccination and masks required.
Kathi Scrizzi Driscoll – Cape Cod Times