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Review: 'Last Five Years' gets a poignant revival

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 2, 2013 at 7:02 pm •  Published: April 2, 2013

But it's not just newfound love that is making Jamie feel, thrillingly, like he's on a runaway train. His career as a novelist is also on fire. "The Atlantic Monthly's printing my first chapter," he gloats, in "Moving Too Fast."

Meanwhile, Cathy, an aspiring actress, is struggling to find herself. At a book-signing party, she sits next to a pile of his books. But at least, she tells herself, "Look what he can do. And I'm a part of that." She points to the inscription to her in Jamie's book. That's going to have to be enough.

Wolfe has a lovely soprano voice, and she shines in funny songs like "A Summer in Ohio," where she's missing Jamie and going slowly batty — "forty miles east of Cincinnati" — or in "Climbing Uphill," about the trials of auditioning with "two hundred girls who are younger and thinner than me, who have already gone to the gym."

As time goes on — or backwards — it's Cathy who becomes light and upbeat, and Jamie who is suffering the decline of their union. He's funny as he sings of the challenges of resisting temptation — i.e. the young women at all those book parties. But Brown's most painful songs for Jamie — the ones that hit home the most — are his darkest. First, an argument: "If I didn't believe in you," he sings, "We wouldn't be having this fight."

Even sadder: "Nobody Needs to Know," the song in which Jamie tries to rationalize an extra-marital affair. At first, since Jamie and Cathy never sing to each other, we think the bed partner he's addressing so sweetly is her. Then we realize it's someone else.

It's frustrating, sometimes, to never see the actors truly addressing each other. But of course, they were never on the same track in the first place. Their timing was, truly and fatally, off.