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16 January, 2021

Jason Robert Brown's Last Five Years: An amazing production at the Tanks Art Centre

Cairns theatre-goers over the years have been treated to some amazing productions and last night, The Last Five Years musical stamped itself as a production that will stack up with the best of the best.

By Peter McCullagh

In the world of musical theatre, most are familiar with the reputation of Andrew Lloyd Webber, Oscar Hammerstein and Tim Rice. Cairns can now become very familiar with another amazing writer and composer, Jason Robert Brown.

Friday night, The Last Five Years musical, written by Jason Robert Brown, opened at the Tanks Arts Centre. This creatively written and faithfully recreated musical was a total delight. Produced by local leading lady Andrea Allumay and directed by Michael Lee Porter. Andrea brings passion and emotion to a seemly fragile and heartbroken Cathy in the opening number.

Throughout the performance we are treated to a wonderful portrayal of an aspiring actress, head-over heels in love with a debut successful novelist Jamie, played by Michael Lee Porter.

The Last Five Years musical is Andrea’s first stint as a producer, after a lengthy and very successful career in theatre in the North and overseas, with performance credits including Phantom of the Opera, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat and Legally Blonde.

The musical features co-star and directed by Michael Lee Porter as Jamie. Michael has a powerful voice with incredible range, captivating the audience and dominating the stage with his performance.

The highlight of the evening was Michael’s performance of The Schmuel Song, a passionate and highly animated expression of Jamie’s growing love for Cathy.

Theatre goers are best advised to make themselves familiar with the storyline before attending. This is a narrative told both forward and well as in reverse.

Cathy opens the performance with a deeply moving performance of Still Hurting, to mark the end of her relationship with Jamie. We then trace Cathy’s relationship decline through the next 80 minutes to finish with a moving performance of Goodbye Until Tomorrow which marks the incredible commencement of her turbulent relationship and marriage to Jamie.

Jamie’s story is told heading forward, from his first meeting with his Shiksa Goodess. Shiksa is Yiddish for a gentile girl or woman. Jamie falls for Cathy deeply and we are treated to the rise and unfortunate fall of his relationship with Cathy.

Staged at the Tanks Arts Centre. The performance  is personal and intimate. All seats have a great view of stage and the strength and passion of the voices fills the space amazingly well.

Cairns is fortunate to have two very talented and passionate performers, lovingly creating such a wonderful production.

Opening night had no jitters, moved seamlessly from opening number to finale with both performers onstage or for the entire performance.

Well worth attending and definitely a great way to kick start the performance year.

The Last Five Years runs until Sunday January 24 with good seats still available through Ticketlink.

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