Review: ‘The Last Five Years’ at Robinson High School’s Rambunctious Theatre Company and West Potomac High School’s Beyond the Page Theatre Company

Jason Robert Brown’s The Last Five Years is not your average love story. It showcases the ups and downs, successes and failures of any relationship but hearing each side of the story told going opposite ways. Writing protégé Jamie and aspiring actress Cathy show us how their happy loving relationship crashes in five years.

David Jarzen (Jamie). Photo by Laura Marshall.
David Jarzen (Jamie). Photo by Laura Marshall.

Jamie tells his side of this epic story from beginning to end while Cathy from end to beginning, meeting together in the middle. The Beyond the Page Theatre Company and Rambunctious Theatre Company collaborated to put on a wonderful, heart wrenching production of this epic love story.

Jamie Wellerstein was portrayed by West Potomac High School 2016 graduate David Jarzen. Jarzen was able to capture the energy, excitement and optimism of 23-year-old Jamie as well as the anger and heartbreak of the 28-year-old Jamie. He was able to show his comedic side in “The Schmuel Song” and his intense side in “Nobody Needs to Know” pulling the audience in with every note.

The breathtaking Madyson Hanton, Robinson High School 2016 graduate, performed Cathy Hiatt. Hanton set the tone of the show with the heart wrenching opening number “Still Hurting” to closing it with a duet with Jarzen “Goodbye Until Tomorrow/I Could Never Rescue You” showing the hope that Cathy once had in their relationship. Other standout numbers for Hanton were “I’m a Part of That” and “Climbing Uphill. ”

Madyson Hanton (Cathy). Photo by Laura Marshall.
Madyson Hanton (Cathy). Photo by Laura Marshall.

In the latter, in she was able to show the comedic struggle of Cathy as an upcoming actress while in “I’m a Part of That” the true love that Cathy has for Jamie, her desire for him to succeed and her hanging on to the relationship as it untangles.

The technical elements played a significant part in the production. The minimal set was accented with projector boards, projecting photos to accent the scene- whether that be photos of the couple, a copy of Jamie’s book or architecture to help establish the location of the scene. The lighting also really played with the story telling and emotional aspect of the production. Purple and blue lights were used to show the moments that were leading to the end of the relationships and reds, pinks and oranges to represent the happiness at the start of the relationship.

David Jansen (Jamie) and Madyson Hanton (Cathy). Photo by Laura Marshall.
David Jansen (Jamie) and Madyson Hanton (Cathy). Photo by Laura Marshall.

This production is being used as a fundraiser to support both Robinson High School’s Rambunctious Theatre Company and West Potomac High School’s Beyond the Page Theatre Company and their trips to Scotland to perform in the Edinburgh Fringe Festival Summer of 2017. To support these schools and their future endeavors please go to their websites: http://www.robinsondrama.org/ and http://www.westpotomactheatre.org

Running Time: 90 minutes, no intermission

The Last Five Years plays through July 23, 2016 at Kolegman Theatre – 6500 Quander Road, in Alexandria, VA. For tickets, purchase them at the door, or online.