The Last Five Years, written by Jason Robert Brown, premiered in America in 2001 and since then has received several productions around the world. For four performances only, it was staged this week at London’s Greenwich Theatre and being a huge fan of this incredible music I shimmied along to check it out.
The show tells the story of a five year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein and Cathy Hyatt. Jamie is a writer and Cathy is an actress. When Jamie’s career starts to take off, Cathy gets left behind, struggling to make her mark as an actress. Does jealously drive a divide between the couple or do their lives simply drift apart?
The show is performed out of chronological order, which sounds like it would be confusing (starting at the end of their marriage and then flitting back and forth throughout their lives) but somehow it makes perfect sense. The stage is set as a sort of mirror image, one bed with a crack down the middle to separate it out to two ‘single’ beds where the couple lie. Apart from one song in the show, the couple never look at each other and perform retrospectively looking back on their lives now they are apart.
Danielle Hope (Wizard of Oz, Les Miserables) plays Cathy flawlessly. At just 22 years old her career seems to be able to do no wrong, having gone from strength to strength since winning the TV talent show to play Dorothy in The Wizard of Oz at the London Palladium in 2010. It was lovely to see a more comedic side to Danielle come out in this performance, something I’ve not seen before in her more serious roles.
Jon Robyns (Miss Saigon, Les Miserables, Spamalot) blew me away with his performance as Jamie. An incredible voice and a powerful performance. It was lovely to see him fulfil his true potential in a role that allows for so much depth to be explored.
If you are not familiar with Jason Robert Browns music of The Last Five Years, I urge you to have a listen. It is so beautiful and heart-wrentching and these two performers did complete justice to the work. Still Hurting and Another Summer In Ohio stood out for me from Danielle’s performances and The Schmeul Song and If I Didn’t Believe In You from Jon. However, every single song in this show is incredible.
The Last Five Years is a wonderful piece that was brought to the Greenwich Theatre with great casting and a great production. Bring on the west end transfer!!
Reviewed by West End Wilma
Take a look at my recent interview with Danielle and Jon, talking about The Last Five Years here