Six Foot Something Productions
The Little Theatre
Until 17 Feb 2007

Review by Nikki Gaertner

Jason Robert Brown’s creative and captivating show seems to gain fans whenever the music is heard orthe show is performed. Now with Six Foot Something’s debut production (and the South Australianpremiere of the fully staged version of “The Last Five Years”), Adelaide theatre-goers are given theopportunity to join the ever-growing group of Brown enthusiasts.

This show tells the story of a five-year long relationship between writer Jamie (Paul Talbot) and aspiringmusical theatre actress Cathy (Dianne K Lang) from beginning to end - and end to beginning in fact!

The opening number presents an emotional Cathy reflecting on the end of her marriage and thenprogresses backwards through time for her until she reaches jubilation at meeting Jamie (five yearsearlier) towards the end of the show. Jamie on the other hand begins the show on an exultant highhaving just met his new love and moves forward through time as his relationship slowly falls apart. Thetwo characters alternate songs while telling their stories and, while appearing on stage simultaneously,are never in the same moment in time except for their marriage in the middle of the show.

Director David Lampard has done a fantastic job with his two performers, ensuring each moves throughscenes in their own timeframe, even when they appear together, keeping the mood of each character inline with where they are emotionally during their own story. In addition, Lampard and Talbot havedesigned an inspired set, allowing scenes to be addressed without being changed and the characters toeasily move between each number.

As expected, Musical Director Matthew Carey delivers perfection on the challenging musical score, alongwith his talented orchestra who never miss a beat.

Lang is outstanding as she presents an enthusiastic and slightly giddy Cathy, who doesn’t entirely losehope for her relationship until the very end. Lang has both the dramatic and comic ability required forthe role, and an exceptional singing voice on top of this, the three skills culminating in numbers such as“A Summer in Ohio” and “Climbing Uphill”.

Talbot is physically well suited to play opposite Lang and does well with some very demanding numbers,a particular crowd-pleaser being “A Miracle Would Happen” in the second half of the show.

Unfortunately on preview night there were some issues with sound quality making it difficult tounderstand some song lyrics during the show – a pity as the clever and at times humorous lyrics arecrucial to grasping the storyline. These issues should be resolved by the show’s opening weekendhowever.

Adelaide audiences should welcome the presentation of such a new and modern musical – a refreshingchange from many of the more traditional shows performed locally. Six Foot Something should becongratulated for bringing this to the stage and for endeavouring to continue to present shows like it inthe future.