Review: The Last Five Years (Clearwater Theatre Company)

You know what they say: “There’s two sides to every story”.  The Last Five Years, presented by Clearwater Theatre Company in Tarragon’s Extra Space, is an exploration of this very notion.

The Last Five Years is a musical inspired by Jason Robert Brown’s failed marriage.  It’s a two-hander where Cathy’s story is told in reverse-chronological order and Jamie’s is told chronologically.  It explores the complexities and heartbreaks involved in the declination of a relationship.

I had the fortune of taking the lovely and incomparable Dorianne Emmerton with me to see the show.  We arrived in time to have a quick discussion about our lives and the interesting set before us.  Joseph Pagnan’s design is captivating yet simplistic, aspects of which change and come alive throughout the course of the show, much to my delight.

This musical is, without a doubt, one of my favourites of all-time.   The music is emotional and riveting.  However, Dorianne and I had a chat after the show about one of our main qualms with the script itself; the portrayal of Cathy as a bitter woman and, eventually, the reason for Jamie’s infidelity.  As a feminist, this did not sit well with Dorianne.  And I can definitely see what she means.

This script-based criticism – and an overall lack of love for the costumes aside, we both thoroughly enjoyed the production.  Alison Jutzi and John Boag are stunning talents.  ‘The Schmuel Song’ is a highlight in the show for both Dorianne and I.  It really is an incredible moment when set, lighting, staging, and script all come together seamlessly to create a truly beautiful onstage moment.  Dorianne even teared up a bit, but don’t tell her that I told you that.

I have to say that I have the utmost respect for director Kate Stevenson for her smart staging.  What could be a very difficult show to stage effectively and in an entertaining manner was expertly handled by Stevenson with excellent attention to scene changes and character development.

Overall, a very entertaining and emotional production.  Check it out before it’s gone!


– The Last Five Years is playing at the Tarragon Extra Space (30 Bridgman Ave) until January 14th
– Performances are Thursday through Saturday at 8pm, matinees on Saturday and Sunday at 2:30 p.m.
– Ticket prices range from $20 – $25
– Tickets are available by phone at 416-531-1827 or online

Photo of Alison Jutzi and John Boag

2 thoughts on “Review: The Last Five Years (Clearwater Theatre Company)”

  1. Went to see this play with a friend and I am typically not a big fan of musicals, but this was a great show.

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