Review- The Last Five Years- Aurora Theatre


By: Meaghan McGurgan


I'm a big fan of The Last Five Years. I've seen it several times. I even saw a lesbian production in Austin a few years ago. I know this musical and love it. Writing about a show you've seen many times is always harder than a new experience. But as usual, I'll do my best to see this production with new eyes and through the vision of the director, Marek Steenkamp.


The Last Five Years is one of the most produced plays in regional theatre worldwide. It's easy to see why. It's very simple to produce with minimal props, set and costume requirements. It has great songs, two cast members and is very hard to mess up. Just get the casting right and you've got a solid show. Aurora Theatre chose to put their trust in Bobby Burns and Mimi Burns (no relation) for the parts of Jamie and Cathy. 


First and foremost, Mimi Burns knocked the roof off the Fringe Club last night. Her voice was shockingly good. She was undeniable as Cathy and I predict to see her on a Heckler ballot in a few months. It was one of the best performances I have seen in months. I highly recommend you see this show, simply to see her sing "A Summer in Ohio". I cannot rave enough about how beautiful her performance was. Not only was her singing amazing, but she had the vulnerability needed for the part. The audience laughed, cried and rooted for Cathy throughout the night. 


Bobby Burns had a much more difficult task when playing Jamie. At times, the character comes across as unlikeable. He's a very complex character to play. Personally, I had wished Bobby had pulled back the theatricality in his performance. The best parts were when he simply stood still and sang from his heart. "I Could Never Rescue You" was lovely for its simplicity. I would have loved more moments like that for Jamie; as that's where the audience's sympathy for the character lies.


Mr. Steenkamp made good use of the Fringe stage. It is a small space and he did his best to use every inch of it. There were some levels in the set design, that led to some beautiful moments. There were some small technical issues in the production with uneven sound levels, mics popping and lagging transitions; but these are minor and I'm hoping these will be worked out through the run. 


Aurora Theatre's The Last Five Years is a truly enjoyable experience and an excellent representation of Brown's musical. It is my understanding that it is sold out for the rest of the run but should a black market ticket come on sale, nab it. Mimi Burns performance as Cathy is not to be missed. 


The Last Five Years is playing through May 20th. For more information, click here.


Rate This Show: 1 2 3 4 5 Audience Rating: 3.1


  • Alice
    20 May 2016

    As usual right on point Ms. McG. Mimi was pure G!
  • Winnie
    20 May 2016

    I have to disagree with the comments about bobby here. He is an amazing singer and performer. I could see the depth of emotions that he depicted throughout the journey of the couple's relationship. At a point he brought tears in my eyes (I could see his too!) Most audience would not like the character jamie the moment they saw the other woman in the bed, but it is important not to mix this judgment with Bobby's heartfelt performance.
    Agree that mimi was awesome. She has an incredible voice!
    I will definitely go see any other shows by any of these talented artists!
    Keep performing!
  • Danny
    22 May 2016

    What a super show! My girlfriend and I thoroughly enjoyed it! I have to agree with Winnie, both cast members were outstanding! They complemented each other so well. I agree a few technical issues but the performers made you see past that. I think the review does not do the male lead justice at all, he was equally as good as the lead actress. His acting made us cry! The female lead was hilarious and wow what a voice. My girlfriend knows this show very well and after reading this review found it very funny that the reviewer quotes a song by the male lead that isn't even a song in the show!! Very respectful....A huge congratulations to all involved we will definitely watch more Auroura Theatre productions but We suggest you get a new reviewer! We would definitely watch this again to watch both performers!
  • Alan
    24 May 2016

    I think the review is more than fair. I had never seen either of these performers and although the male performer was ok, the girl was far better. (I saw the opening night. Maybe the other nights were better?) I think it's a personal preference but I prefer more subtlety in a show like the Last Five Years.

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