The Last Five Years | Theater Wit | Theater & Performance | Chicago Reader

The Last Five Years Closing (Theater and Galleries) The Short List (Theater)

When: Thursdays-Sundays. Continues through Aug. 25 2013

Well that was quick, I thought to myself as the house lights came back up and bows were taken. At 90 minutes, Jason Robert Brown's intimate song cycle (which, by the way, had its world premiere at Skokie's Northlight Theatre in 2001) is certainly brief. But I wasn't reacting to the running time. It's Cathy and Jamie's relationship that whizzes right by. Jamie is a Jewish novelist who hits the big time at 23, Cathy is a "shiksa goddess" actress who can't get traction. They fall in love, marry, and fall apart, all in five years. Brown's score is fairly strong, and he uses some clever gambits to tell the tale: Cathy's songs start at the anguished end of the relationship, Jamie's at its manic start; the performer playing Cathy accompanies the one playing Jamie on piano, and vice versa. What's more, John Glover's staging for Kokandy Productions is nicely crafted and ingratiating. It's hard, though, to work up a lot of feeling for a pair that seem to give up so easily while claiming to try so hard. Insofar as their relationship lacks substance, so does the show. —Tony Adler

Price: $32

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