LOUGHREA'S BRAVO Theatre Group make their Galway city debut this weekend at the Town Hall Theatre with the musical drama, The Last Five Years. Written by Jason Robert Brown, it is an intensely personal look at the relationship between a writer and an actress, told from both points of view.
This contemporary song-cycle musical ingeniously chronicles the five year life of a marriage, from meeting to break-up… or from break up to meeting, depending on how you look at it. New Yorker Brown wrote The Last Five Years in 2001 for Chicago’s Northlight Theatre Company (an ensemble which has often performed at the Galway International Arts Festival ), and is closely based on the story of his own marriage break up. After its Chicago premiere, the production transferred to Off-Broadway where it won two Drama Desk Awards, for music and lyrics. Since then, it has received hundreds of productions, in the US and internationally.
The show is somewhat unusual in being a two-person musical. The male narrative begins at the beginning of the story and progresses through marriage, infidelity, and divorce, while the female narrative begins at the end of the relationship and ends with the couple's first date. The two actors' only direct interaction takes place midpoint, during the wedding sequence. The musical style draws on a number of musical genres, including pop, jazz, and classical, klezmer, Latin, rock, and folk.
“Bravo Theatre Group was set up over a year ago by myself and my wife Clodagh," musical director Shane Farrell tells me. “Our first show was Listen to My Heart by David Friedman which got a great response in Loughrea. We then did a production of The Jungle Book last November and this summer our youth group presented The Best of Broadway, which features hits from all the big musicals. The Last Five Years is our first time to bring a show into Galway city.”
Shane explains what drew him to The Last Five Years. “I first came across the show a couple of years ago but I’m a big fan of Jason Robert Brown, the composer. He may not be very well known here but the music is stunning. I think people will really appreciate the beautiful score.”
Commentators on the musical have remarked that it is a challenging work to sing. “Absolutely,” Farrell agrees. “The songs go from really slow ballads to massive belters there are huge contrasts in the piece so that is challenging. But we have two fantastic singers, Shane Kelly from Tuam and Sarah Corcoran from Ballinasloe, both of whom also appeared in our production of Listen to my Heart. We also have a live eight-piece orchestra which should create some lovely sounds for us.”
The Last Five Years is produced by Shane Farrell and Sarah Griffin and is in the Town Hall this Saturday at 8pm. Tickets are €15/13 through 091 - 569777 or www.tht.ie