Theater Info for the Washington DC region

The Last Five Years, A Modern Musical at Tantallon

By • Nov 9th, 2006 • Category: Reviews

Listen to our review of Tantallon Community Players production of The Last Five Years [MP3 4:54 1.4MB].

Laura: We saw the Tantallon Community Players‘ production of The Last Five Years in Fort Washington, Maryland.

Mike: The Last Five Years is a modern musical written by Jason Robert Brown. It’s the story of a couple, Catherine and Jamie, who fall in love and unfortunately, end up falling out of love and getting divorced. The story is told entirely with music. The point of view of Catherine is from the present backwards in time to five years ago. And Jamie’s story is from five years ago to the present. It’s really quite an effective device for seeing how two really good people end up together and how they kind of drift apart and break up.

Laura: I enjoyed the show very much. I thought it was interesting. Again, I wasn’t sure what to expect from it, but I enjoyed the music. The two sang well together. I enjoyed watching the relationships on one side grow and then collapse. And then on the other side collapse and then grow together. So I thought that was a really interesting premise.

Mike: This was a really good show. It was a little different in that the musical wasn’t the type musical where you end up singing and dancing the whole time. It just kept telling a story the entire time. You got to know these two characters really well. There was a really strong discussion after the show about the characters and that was kind of neat to see. The two actors even talked about how the relationship of the people was a challenge.

Laura: Jamie Wellerstein was played by Christopher Gerken. He did a really good job. He had a strong singing voice, a lot of emotion. I liked his scene towards the end when he realizes that the relationship is falling apart and he has an affair. That loses a lot of his likability. But he still gave a really strong performance. He wanted it to work, but he also gave into the temptations of the world.

Mike: Catherine Hiatt was played by Eva Kolig. She did a really good job. She had a pretty hard part in that she had to start out at the beginning of the show very emotional because the marriage had broken up. And then she had to go back in time getting more cheerful and happy towards the end of the show. She did that really well. I really liked the scene of her driving in the car, one of their first dates and she and Jamie were going to go visit her family. That was a really good scene. I love the way she was driving the car, doing all the little mannerisms; putting the seat belt on and just doing those things to make you really see the car right there.

Laura: Two other people that were very instrumental in putting this show together were the director Charla Rowe, and the Musical Director James D. Watson. They both did a really good job. Good direction with the good pacing of the show. The musical direction was really good because he really had to play some fast notes on the piano and he did a really good job.

Mike: It was a very simple set. There were two desks on the sides of the stage. There was a platform. There was a neat device that they used where on the back of the stage there was a screen set up. They had slides running at different points during the show. Even though for almost the entire show each actor was on stage separately, they didn’t interact directly with each other for the most part. Up on the screen there were photographs of the two of them together. In the park, playing on the beach and in the car. That was really neat because it helped the audience see that they were a couple together. There were several costume changes throughout the show. That was really well done. The actors were very comfortable on stage and they were very comfortable with each other. It really felt like Eva and Christopher were good friends and it was kind of heartbreaking that the show ended sadly, (or started sadly depending on how you look at it).

Laura: After Sunday’s performance there was a talk back session between the audience, the two actors, the director and the musical director. We have cut that down and it will be available on our website, tomorrow.

Mike: The Last Five Years is playing in Fort Washington at the Harmony Hall Regional Center through this weekend. Friday night and Saturday night at 8 PM and Sunday the 12th at 2 PM. Definitely recommend you go see this show. It’s enjoyable. The show is a little less than two hours long with an intermission. There is some adult language and some adult situations in this show so be aware of that. Definitely appropriate for high school and older. You know your kids better than anybody else does. So have a talk with them. It could be a really good learning experience.

Laura: And now, on with the show.

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started ShowBizRadio in August 2005 because they love live theater. They each have both performed in and worked behind the scenes in DC area productions, as well as earned a Career Studies Certificate in Theater from Northern Virginia Community College. Mike & Laura are each members of the American Theatre Critics Association, and Mike is a member of the Online News Association.

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