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Flip Theatre debuts with "The Last Five Years"

Posted by: Graydon Royce under Theater, Openings + closings Updated: November 8, 2013 - 10:46 AM

Last summer, a group of young actors/singers/musicians cobbled together their enthusiasm and put on a great production of "Hair" that captured the spirit of togetherness, community, comity so much intended by that show.

"The Last Five Years" is about as far from "Hair" as you can get, but the youngsters at Flip Theatre fill me with the same sense of hope and admiration. The poignant musical by Jason Robert Brown concludes this weekend at the Minneapolis Theatre Garage and it is worth seeing. Britta Ollmann and Bobby Gardner play Cathy and Jamie, who relate the ups and downs of their relationship from different angles. Jamie starts his story on the first day she shows up at Cathy's house with a bouquet of flowers. She starts by sitting on moving boxes as they are splitting up. Their paths only cross once, on the day of their wedding.

Flip's production rides on the shoulders of Jason Hansen's five-piece band and the big expressive voices of Ollmann and Gardner. John Lynn directs with a very clear eye toward the state of the relationship, the position of each character and how they intersect (or don't).  Gardner and Ollman really express the youth and joy of these young lovers -- an innocence that we hope never sours. Of course, it does and that is aching point of Brown's lovely little two-hander. I have seen this musical before, but it really landed here with young singers and a larger band.

I wish I would have seen this production earlier. It closes Sunday, but you can still get tickets. Go to  http://www.fliptheatre.org

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