Tuesday, 30 January 2018

The Last Five Years | The London Theatre

This weekend I had the pleasure of popping down to London to check out Seagull and Wolf Productions first full-length show. The Last Five Years is one of my all-time favourite musicals so I was really excited to see a new production in a location I'd never visited before.

The London Theatre is a fringe-style theatre seating just 37 people, definitely the smallest venue I've ever seen a musical in. The show requires just a two-person cast, and for this production, a live pianist and guitarist accompanied the performers, which was perfect for the space and added to the raw and intimate feel of the show. Bella Bowen as Cathy was truly wonderful: her powerful voice filled the room and she showed a full spectrum of emotions. Ruari Kelsey was equally great as Jamie, successfully taking the character from charismatic and witty to cocky and selfish by the end of the show, with strong vocals to match. Song highlights for me included Bowen's upbeat and funny rendition of A Summer in Ohio and a heartbreaking performance of If I Didn't Believe In You by Kelsey.

I think the choice to perform the show in such a small venue was an excellent one by Alastair Norton and Chloe Powell (founders of Seagull and Wolf Productions). It allowed the actors to really showcase their vocals and allowed the audience to notice every little emotion and movement. The show is so fast-paced that, for example, Cathy will be crying in one scene and singing happily in the next so seeing this emotional switch by the actors was very impressive, but simultaneously felt very authentic.

If this is the standard of Seagull and Wolf's first production, well - I can't wait to see what's next. They're definitely one to watch!


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