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The Last Five Years

The Arts Centre Gold Coast in collaboration with Golden Apple Theatrical Productions presents THE LAST FIVE YEARS, Written and Composed by Jason Robert Brown, in The Space at the Gold Coast Arts Centre.

THE LAST FIVE YEARS is written and composed by Jason Robert Brown. The original production was nominated for a number of awards and garnered two Drama Desk Awards in 2002 for Book and Lyrics after its short run in the Minetta Lane Theatre, an Off-Broadway space. Mr Brown won, in 1999, the Tony Award for Best Original Score for PARADE – his first show.

THE LAST FIVE YEARS concerns Cathy (Lucy McIntosh) and Jamie (Tyler Burness). The conceit of the construction is that the two protagonists tell/sing of their relationship over five years, from meeting to separation (divorce?). Cathy’s story is told backwards from the break-up, and, Jamie’s is told chronologically forward, from their first meeting. Each of the character’s sing mostly solo and only once in duet, on their wedding day. It is moving but not sentimental. The work is serious and rings of lived truths.

Performed without interval (approximately, 85 minutes), it is a very demanding work for the singers. The style of music covers “pop, jazz, klezmer, latin, rock, and folk”. It requires not only alert and agile singing, it insists, if, it is to work, on “acting chops’ of a fairly high order. Fortunately, both these performers, Ms McIntosh and Mr Burness, at the Gold Coast Arts Centre, have both. Mr Burness, often, particularly subtle and revelatory in his storytelling choices.

The Directors of the production, Cilla Scott and Adam King, have created a fluid scene movement and the many changes of time and location are handled deftly, clearly, with a minimum of fuss; the actor/singers, cared for with thoughtful details of staging and direction. The lighting (Anthony Lee) is swift and useful (if, a little under rehearsed), but, sophisticated in its ambitions. The Sound Designer and Technician (David Rushton) keeps a well balanced sound from the singers and the orchestra.

This young orchestra of nine musicians was led dexterously by Matt Dennett. The orchestrations of the score were revealed to be as much a character to the performance, the story subtleties, as the actors are. Having only heard the score of this musical theatre piece with piano before, the orchestrations of Mr Brown are very impressive, indeed. Mr Dennett seems, to me, a fairly interesting talent. Both, he and Ms Scott, have a resume of success, and it ought to continue, with encouraged opportunity.

This is the debut of Golden Apple Theatrical Productions. It is a very auspicious beginning and worth catching. The Gold Coast Arts Centre have found ‘gold’ in their collaboration and support of this company. The local community ought to flock to it. It is a very rewarding evening.

What did I expect to find up here on the Gold Coast? Certainly, not a theatrical experience as sophisticated as this.(My Sydney, ‘arrogance’ revealed!!!)

But, DO GO.