The Last Five Years

Last Five Years
The Last Five Years

The Last Five Years is a 2 person musical by Jason Robert Brown. It tells of Cathy and Jamie’s 5 year relationship but with a twist. Whilst Jamie, a novelist, tells his story in usual chronological order, Cathy, an aspiring actress tells her version of events is told in reverse. They meet fleetingly in the middle with ‘In the Next 10 Minutes’ which is the only time that they interact.

Seagull and Wolf Productions have taken The Last Five Years to The London Theatre in New Cross. It’s no secret that I adore Jason Robert Brown so the chance to see one of his shows live and discover a new theatre at the same time so accepting the invite to review was a no brainer.

Bella Bowen and Ruari Kelsey took on the roles of Cathy and Jamie. Bowen blew me away as Cathy. Not only did her voice suit the role perfectly but she gave a masterclass in acting through song. The role is incredibly demanding as she is required to portray a huge range of emotions but Bowen didn’t let that intimidate her.

Kelsey as Jamie had the confidence and swagger that Jamie needs however at times this bordered as arrogance, even in the beginning of the relationship, which made it harder for me to understand what Cathy saw in him. I would have liked to have seen a bit more of a journey by Kelsey with the confidence growing as his career did. Kelsey did have a well suited voice for the role and together with Bowen they had convincing chemistry.

The London Theatre is a small fringe venue but the limited space didn’t matter. The focus of this show has to be the relationship in front of you and the human emotion surrounding this. The intimate venue and simplistic setting worked well therefore. There was nice attention to detail in the direction by Alastair Norton, especially the beginning and ending pose from Cathy.

Overall this was a production of The Last Five Years which really drew out the human element of the show and focused on what really mattered. I’m excited to see what Seagull and Wolf Productions do next.

If you liked this review you might also like my review of Crazy for You at The Orchard Theatre and Barnum at the Menier Chocolate Factory.

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