Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Last 5 Years at Fringe.

Really Spicy Opera produced "The Last 5 Years" at this years Orlando International Fringe Festival.Written and Composed by Jason Robert Brown, the musical followed the course of a Marriage over 5 years. Cathy (Suzie Juul) begins by entering the stage and finding a note on a table, announcing that their marriage is over. It is from her lover who has left. it is the bitter ending to what must have been a beautiful relationship. Each of her songs progresses back in time moving towards the sweet memories of the idealistic beginnings. On the other hand, Jamie (Austin Stole) sings his songs in chronological order, beginning with his first glimpse of Jamie and ending with his need to leave a note announcing his departure.

Cathy is an aspiring actress and Jamie an aspiring author. Her career stagnates through a series of auditions while Jamie's manuscript is accepted propelling his career forward. These different trajectories create friction and conflict that wears down their idealistic love. The songs in the show are gorgeous and it is one of my top picks from this years Fringe so far.

The audience gets to experience the rush of first love, a proposal, an affair and the hurt of separation all over the course of two opposing time lines. When Jamie is hurting and given up on the relationship, Cathy is in the feeling the rush of their first date. These highs and lows combined give the play an unexpected resonance and power.

I went to the final performance and was surprised to find two new actors filling the rolls. The female actress (Nicole Kobrich) did a great job but I found it hard to watch the male actor (Steve Halloin) who wasn't projecting and was often off key. He did a great job with "The Schmuel Song" which seemed to be his most polished performance. I've never loved a show, and returned to be disappointed before. As much as I liked the show, it ended its Fringe run with a whimper.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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