Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years has an intriguing skeleton for the story to latch onto. Cathy (Katie Weston) opens the show miserable, singing about the end of her relationship with Jamie (Andrew Kroenert).
As the play progresses, she moves backwards, the relationship lifting out of darkness to better times, before finishing at their most fresh and optimistic. Jamie, however, does the opposite, beginning the show in a place of light and slowly charting their heart-breaking decline.
Thus, for the most part, the show is populated by ghosts. Like Harold Pinter’s, Landscape, or Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan’s, Especially for You, our leads share the spotlight but are speaking/singing to figments of each other.
Marco Fusco’s open plan set design was beautiful, giving the piece the physical and vocal space it needed to really work. Both actors had standout moments, but a particular highlight was in the middle of the show when both characters arrive from opposite directions at the time of their wedding and for a brief time truly interact and duet together.
Sure, a lack of air conditioning threatened to turn the space into a torture-sauna, but despite the climate, Katie and Andrew engaged the audience quickly, their performances being ones of restraint rather than self-indulgence.
The Last Five Years
The MC Showroom, 1/48 Clifton Street, Prahran
Performance: Tuesday 21 November 2017 – 8.00pm
Season: 21 – 26 November 2017 (closed)
Image: Katie Weston and Andrew Kroenert star in The Last Five Years – photo by Gavin D Andrew
Review: David Collins