Sunday 19 August 2012

The Last Five Years - Review

The Space at Niddry Street, Edinburgh


Music and lyrics by: Jason Robert Brown

Director : Michael Richardson

The Space at Niddry Street was almost full for the last night of Green Room’s debut production of Jason Robert Brown’s unconventional tale of a doomed love. Detailing a five year relationship from two perspectives and points in time, Cathy (Sarah Haddath) opens the show looking back at the failed marriage with a raw Still Hurting. Jamie ( Michael Davies)  then bursts on to the stage charting his tale looking forward in time with a New York Jewish shtick of Shiksa Goddess. Whilst the humour in the young man’s passion is evident, for the audience the agony of sharing his laughter whilst having the grim inevatibility of the demise of the couple’s love simultaneously spelled out, defines the show’s painful irony. The two performances are all the more compelling because throughout each actor has the stage to themself, performing solo with the exception of the couple’s wedding day when their two arcs meet.

The wry perspective on life that pulses through this production echoes a narrative style that suggested Woody Allen’s Manhattan with an interweaving of painful human relationships within that city and in I Can Do Better Than That there is more than a nod to Billy Joel’s Scenes From An Italian Restaurant, such is the writer’s ability to tell a story.

The show is a sharply observed dissection of the failure of a loving romance. Brown’s writing is economical with lyrics that are laced with poignant nuance. It is to Haddath and Davies’ credit that they perform the show with vocal excellence and perceptive acting.

Michael Richardson directs with a simple but stylish use of scenery and compact space and Neil Metcalfe on piano provides a skilled accompaniment.

The show now tours and should be seen.

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