The Last Five Years is a musical about Jamie Wellerstein (Adam Sippola) and Catherine Hiatt (Carolyn LePine) and the last five years of their lives together. It is told in both chronological (his) and reverse chronological (hers) order. It takes some thought to piece together the story, but the nonlinear storytelling lends itself to the real dynamics of relationships. When you see her happy, he may be melancholy. He’s excited and she’s feeling alone. You don’t have a clear roller coaster ride of up and then crashing into the breakup like most relationship stories, it’s a consistent ride of choppy waters.
The staging is very simple with minimal props or costume changes. I think sometimes people go to theatre and they see a really stark stage and they think that that’s a bad sign. In this case less is more. the simplicity of the set helps focus your attention on the actors and their performances.
The live orchestra was a wonderful and surprising addition. The music was brilliantly directed by Patrick Colvin and the orchestra’s positioning just off to the side of the stage made the experience even more intimate.
Carolyn LePine and Adam Sippola delivered beautiful performances. It was obvious to me that both actors really connected to the material which came through in the physicality of their performances. And boy can they sing. This was some of the best theatre I’ve seen in Duluth. It’s a show worth seeing just to hear the performers alone, even if you don’t follow any of the storyline.
Go see this show at The Underground.
506 West Michigan Street
Thursdays – Saturdays until February 6th.
Adults $18, Students $15 Buy tickets online at duluthunderground.org or at the door.