#tweetingit 4* an emotional play well performed by an amateur company; expect to shed a tear.
t’s always great to see a local amateur company fitting perfectly into a theatre programme alongside the miread of fabulous professional shows which tread the boards –and Back of House Theatre Company do just this with The Last 5 Years at the Marlowe Theatre
The Last Five Years tells the story of Jamie and Cathy, a successful author and struggling actor in their twenties who fall in and out of love over the course of five years. As Jamie gets everything he wants, gaining his book deal and success he has always wanted, Cathy struggles to get work and understand why things aren’t going the way she hoped. With their lives and careers going in different directions, they struggle to stay connected and a mix of petty jealousy and immature egos begin to tear the two apart, decimating what was once a happy relationship.
The story is told by the two characters from different ends of their relationship, Jamie from the start and Cathy from the end. The timelines crossing briefly at the point they get married. Watching the beginning of a blossoming relationship while simultaneously seeing the end and where it all went wrong is heart-breaking and you there’s a feeling of wanting to grab Jamie and tell him all the stuff he could do knowing what we know about how Cathy is feeling 5 years later.
The cast are solid and both have good voices; their performances providing an emotional link with the audience. There are moments, however, which feel slightly odd – through no fault of the direction or actors – as the characters rarely interact. The score results in them singing mainly monologue songs while the other listens on. Also, many of the big numbers are given to Jamie, while Cathy’s are more wistful and emotive perhaps not allowing Cathy to show off what she can do.
In 2013, I saw Back of House Theatre Company’s debut at the Marlowe– One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest and they have just gone from strength to strength. Not only are they a local theatre company but they are also really pretty good – I would highly recommend going to support them next time you get the chance.
Recently made into a film starring Anna Kendrick and soon to be performed at St James Theatre staring Samantha Barks (Eponine in the film of Les Mis), Back of House Theatre Company appear to be trail blazers in picking this, almost certainly soon to be pretty well known musical.
Produced by Back of the House Theatre
Book, music & lyrics by Jason Robert Brown.
This amateur production is presented by arrangement with Josef Weinberger Ltd. on behalf of Music Theatre International of New York.