The Last Five Years was a gorgeously executed and incredibly moving show that left me in and started me in, a state of glee and despair. Colla Voce took a beautiful story and score and brought it to life in the most unlikely of places.
The Last Five Years isn’t something especially unique in terms of story, however, its execution elevates it so much that it stands out as an absolute gem. You start the show meeting Cathy who is reminiscing over a failed relationship only to have Jamie, her ex-partner, enter in a state of elation as he has just met Cathy. The show plays forward for Jamie but backwards for Cathy which results in a deep and interesting show that allows viewers to receive an even more enhanced experience on a second viewing.
The characters share the stage throughout the whole piece but never interact until halfway through the show when you see their marriage; a moment where their feelings are matched. It stands out as truly beautiful and serves as a perfect crossover path for the two characters stories.
The vocals and orchestra started off sounding a tad too loud for the space, however, after time, this only served to further immerse you as you whisked through five years in 90 minutes. Speaking of the orchestra, they did an incredible and outstanding job of bringing such a difficult musical piece to life. This was only matched by the wonderful performances delivered by Alex Cosgriff and Olivia Doust to cement this show as truly remarkable.
Alex did a fantastic job of showing the gradual decline in Jamie and Cathy’s relationship but special mention should go to Olivia, for not only showing the exact same decline; but backwards.
The exact same can be said about the lighting. At the start of the show, we meet Cathy basked in sombre and cold blue lighting which suddenly contrasts Jamie’s entrance flooding the stage with warm and horny reds. As the show progressed, these colours began to transition leading to the marriage scene being covered in white.
What makes this show so unexpected is the venue it was performed. Deep in the basement of Theatre Delicatessen, you wouldn’t expect such as show to have so much life. The set, although minimalist, filled the stage; transforming the venue into something that felt very urban and homely. Initially, I was concerned about the echo within the room yet the orchestra filled the space and the echo only served to elevate the dialogue giving it the haunting edge of a long past memory.
The Last Five Years was a truly remarkable experience. For Colla Voce’s first production, it only leaves me them in a sterling position to peruse great things. For a show I’ve seen a fair few times, I never expected it to shine above them all; even professional. My only regret is that I didn’t receive a lovely signed photograph of the one and only Alex Cosgriff.