Sam @CUSP Conference 2015

Thursday, May 26, 2011

REVIEW: "The Last Five Years" at Andiamo Novi Theatre

It can be hard to wrap all of the complexities of a failed relationship in an hour of text. And, it can be even more difficult performing such a relationship in a paralleled manner with one character relaying the story backwards while the other goes in chronological order. Fortunately, Jason Robert Brown pulls of a script that eloquently takes you through the ups-and-downs of love and Jennifer George-Consiglio and Joseph Cardinal bring the right amount of talent to pull it off.

George-Consiglio's vocals weave through Brown's tremendous soundtrack like a cat-through the high and low notes she always lands on her feet. The actress gave a courageous performance. She was fearless when it came to bringing several emotions that her character, Cathy, experiences throughout her relationship and marriage to Jamie. There's no need for much scenery in this show-she instructs the audience as to where we are in the story with her smile, her eyes or her grimace. We knew when she was happy, we could tell when she was frustrated and we knew when she was sad.

The actress gets extra kudos for her several costume changes. She pulled them off without a hitch.

Cardinal gives a solid performance as the successful partner in the relationship. His vocals are strong and consistent. The actor, who has directed the show twice in the past, undoubtedly knows the character and sings songs like "Shiksa Goddess" and "If I Didn't Believe In You" with such genuineness you can feel his love for Cathy and you want it to work out. Even when he steps out of his marriage and sings "Nobody Needs to Know" you hesitantly agree.

The production is perfectly set in Andiamo Novi Theatre's intimate theater. There are moments in the show the actors are so raw and real you feel like you are a "third wheel" and intruding. It's like watching something that may have happened to you or someone you may know.

The conclusion to Andiamo Novi Theatre's "Off Broadway Series" is a must-see as the 2010/2011 season closes.

Click on the link below to read my advance for the show in Oakland Press:


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