The intimate and relatable piece tells the story of Cathy and Jamie, two 20-something New Yorkers who used to be giddily in love but break apart over time, dissecting their last five years for answers about how it all went wrong.
Written by Tony Award-winning playwright Jason Robert Brown, the audience bears witness to both joy and despair as the protagonists each tell their side of the story: Jamie in chronological order, Cathy recounting hers in reverse. The two characters only intersect once, in the middle of the show at their wedding, making for a compelling and voyeuristic viewing experience.
Bringing undeniable chemistry and powerful performances to their La Boite debuts are recent Queensland Conservatorium Griffith University graduate Danielle Remulta as Cathy, and returning home to Australia after wonderful success in the UK, actor and musician Robert Tripolino as Jamie.
La Boite Executive Director Zohar Spatz said The Last Five Years reflected the themes of optimism, joy and escapism at the heart of La Boite’s 2022 season.
“Our decision to program and produce The Last Five Years came from a yearning to offer our audience a really joyful, intimate musical theatre work they’ll remember for a long time to come,” said Ms Spatz.
“This production is responsive to what Brisbane audiences want after two years of staying at home, weathering a pandemic and not being able to sit in a theatre and experience the uplifting joy of live performance.”
“La Boite is about pushing the envelope; not just producing cutting edge, political and powerful work but presenting impactful theatre.”
“COVID has really shone a light on our personal relationships and for me, The Last Five Years is a compelling work that uncovers and unpacks the complexity, joy, intimacy and heartbreak of relationships and presents them in a way that shows how two people can co-exist in isolation,” said Ms Spatz.
Prolific and highly regarded musical theatre director Darren Yap brings his signature focus on heartfelt storytelling and a unique personal spin to this much-loved musical. A member of La Boite’s Artist Company, Mr Yap said the themes of connection and disconnection running through the work will strike a chord with Brisbane audiences.
“You can be with someone in absolute intimacy but feel like they are a complete stranger at the same time – I do think that’s universal and accessible and all demographics will understand those themes,” he said. “That memory of heartbreak or a relationship ending; that moment in time when it feels like the world has stopped.”
Mr Yap is working closely with Set and Costume Designer Chloe Greaves and Music Director James Dobinson to reimagine the theatre space, revealing the two-person cast will be joined on stage by a live band.
“We want the audience to really feel part of this story, to make this work a real conversation with them and draw them in through story and music to really feel those moments of joy and misery,” he said.
“Whether it makes you laugh or cry, music can be a healing experience and Jason’s score certainly has the ability to be the elixir we need as we emerge from this pandemic,” said Yap.
The Last Five Years premiered at Chicago’s Northlight Theatre in 2001 and made its Off-Broadway debut in March 2002 before being staged internationally. It was adapted for the screen in 2014 with Anna Kendrick and Jeremy Jordan in the lead roles.
Director: Darren Yap | Featuring: Danielle Remulta, Robert Tripolino | Music Director: James Dobinson | Assistant Creative (Directing): Egan Sun-Bin | Costume and Set Designer: Chloe Greaves | Lighting Designer: Ben Hughes | Sound Designer: Brady Watkins | Choreography: Benjamin Osborne | Movement/Intimacy/Fight Director: Nigel Poulton
The Last Five Years
Roundhouse Theatre, 6 – 8 Musk Avenue, Kelvin Grove (Brisbane)
Season: 1 – 18 June 2022 (previews: 30 & 31 May)
Information and Bookings: www.laboite.com.au
Image: Robert Tripolino and Danielle Remulta star in The Last Five Years – courtesy of La Boite Theatre Company