Review: THE LAST FIVE YEARS - Reviews By Judith

There’s a commonly used adage in theatremaking school. You have to make your own work. I expect Mitchell Old didn’t need to be told that by any mentor or teacher, his instincts seem to scream it.

As Cathy, whose story is told backwards, Hannah Alexander works especially well in avoiding the future disappointment to give each scene a different understanding of Cathy as she was. The Next Ten Minutes, with the strings physically and musically surrounding her, is sweet and soulful and puts a lovely voice forward for the audience in the hope that the ending might be different even though we know not to be hopeful. Andrew Schwimmer is Jamie. Jamie’s view of his relationship with Cathy is told forward, the interweaving finds their musical paths cross in the middle, at the wedding. Schwimmer has a lovely way with the audience and as boy becomes man, he gives the flaws and self-disappointment a gradual growth inside the early enthusiastic lad. Nobody Needs to Know is particularly moving.

That scene is also musically excellent as Old who is both director and MD has foregrounded the electric piano and held the strings under. This allows the singer to create the emotion, with the support of the orchestra but no overdone manipulation. This appears to be Old’s signature as Musical Director. His orchestra is on stage, split into 2 sides and the use of 2 cellos and bass is lush sounding on the recording with the guitar and violin well used for up-tempo in numbers such as See I’m Smiling.

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