Taking place over 5 crucial years, “The Last Five Years” follows the individual and shared lives of Cathy and Jamie, as they grow together and grow apart. 

Beginning from the final moments, Cathy demonstrates the devastating effects of a relationship that has crumbled, whilst Jamie revels in the naive discovery of true love for the first time. From here, the two embark along the same relationship in opposite directions, although through very different paths. As Jamie becomes increasingly obsessed with his own success, we see Cathy struggling to make it as an artist and find personal prosperity. (from 00production’s website).

Premiered in 2002, The Last Five Years is not the most well known musical, but this Saturday (9th) is your opportunity to watch as Jamie (Peter Todd) and Cathy (Maggie Moriarty) sing their way through a five-year relationship and their own, very real, isolation. A musical that lends itself to the format, with no huge chorus moments, no dancing on cars in L.A. the cast of two can happily pass through the show without having to interact in the real world.

In a statement for the show Livi van Warmelo, the Musical Director, comments;

“Jason Robert Brown, as both the librettist and the composer, has created some of the most honest emotional writing I’ve ever heard, leaving us with a source material that is raw and incredibly heartfelt. Each song isn’t a song but a musical tapestry, bending and allowing space for the text to take the time that it needs to come through… [the] intertextuality between the songs is key throughout, and is one of two main elements that drive the narrative progression, the other being the music’s ability to mould to the narrative direction of the libretto.”

This is an extremely ambitious project, requiring the syncing of a band as well as the two actors, and really playing with the boundaries between theatre and film – though the production team insists that this is a “digitised theatrical performance” and not a “film”.

The cameras float around, dancing with the actors, ever moving. This is not the multiple camera extravaganza of a National Theatre Live production. Filmed by friends and family the show jars with previous understandings of theatre, but in this strange new world theatre is having to brave new frontiers.

Produced, rehearsed and recorded exclusively from quarantine, a huge amount of work has gone into syncing it all up, setting a scene that is consistent across two completely different locations, and the practicalities of directing a show that has to be filmed.

“Working with everyone remotely has made the emotional separation of the characters all the more poignant, and I am shocked at how we can create an entire piece of musical theatre from the comfort of our own homes.”

The one off performance can be viewed online at 7:30pm, Saturday 9th May. Tickets are £3 and can be bought from www.00productions.co.uk/tickets 

Rowan Ireland

Rowan Ireland is The Oxford Blue's wine reviewer in exile. A fan of everything, Rowan wakes up with the dawn screaming, and enjoys long walks around his hometown on a remote mountainous island north of England. When he isn't writing wime reviews he can't be found.