Saturday, June 4, 2016

"The Last Five Years" ☼ ☼ baub

Jason Robert Brown's "The Last Five Years" is a story about a relationship between Jamie (Zak Resnick) and Cathy (Margo Seibert). It purports to detail five years in their lives, beginning and ending with distance, and in between -- well, more distance. The show is told entirely in song. It is eighty minutes long (no intermission).

Here are the things we like about "The Last Five Years."

These songs: "Still Hurting," "The Next Ten Minutes," "I Can Do Better Than That," and "A Summer in Ohio."

Cathy. She has a fine voice and gives us emotion when called for.

Jamie, at the end when he gets mad.

That's about it.

Why, we ask ourselves, would anyone wish to see a story about two people who seem to have been set up by a cross-eyed demon yenta? Why write a show about two people who show no attraction to each other, nor affection, and whose relationship starts nowhere and ends nowhere, with no lessons learned?

Jamie is such a (WORD FOR MALE SEXUAL ORGAN REDACTED). Self-centered, a sickening fake smile, the essence of callow. But he doesn't know it. We are supposed to feel for him because Cathy's career isn't doing as well as his is. But, you know...please see the first sentence of this paragraph.

And the music. It gets better towards the end, beginning when Resnick and Seibert get a chance to interact in a duet. The rest of the time she sings a song about alienation, and he sings a song about temptation, then she sings a song where she's mad at him, then he sings a song where he is frustrated with her. They could be face-timing from Cleveland.

Feh. As my grandmother used to say, "for every pot there is a cover." These two can have the whole kitchen cabinet to themselves. No they can't. They broke up. Poor pot. Poor cover.

RATINGS: ☼ ☼ baub
The San Francisco Theater Blog Awards Division awards "The Last Five Years" Two Stars with a bauble of despair. The good songs are worth a star and and Margo Seibert's attempts to bring life to a relationship that lacks not only chemistry but biochemistry, gains another.

The bauble is for the song "The Schmuel Song." Not only does it have nothing to do with the story, but the music -- OK, let's say the chorus -- sounds like Schmuel, the old world tailor, with a little Yiddische accent here and there, has gone to the Schlablinsk Center to see The Monkeys. Did the Monkeys play Schlablinsk? Really, guys.

Two Stars falls below our Recommended Level (see side bar for explanation of ratings). You have been warned.

"The Last Five Years"
A.C.T. Theatre
405 Geary Street, San Francisco
 Through June 5

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