Theatre in Wales

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Communication – Communication – Communication

The Last Five years

Leeway Productions , WMC (Weston Studio) , November-13-18
The Last Five years by Leeway Productions Angharad Lee’s unfocused direction and Becky Davies unattractive, unhelpful set were mitigated by the excellence of the performers. This American musical play about the failure to communicate and the marriage breakdown of Jamie, a newly discovered novelist and young actress Cathy lie at the core of the production. We get very moving performances both in dialogue and song from the two former lovers, Michael Hamway and Lauren Hood.

Lee has taken the lack of communication factor to a further level initiated by her meeting with deaf choreographer Mark Smith who has made an excellent piece of work with the two very fine dancers, Anthony Snowden and Raffie Julien. They are extensions of Jamie and Cathy and introduce British Sign Language in the production again emphasising the communication difficulties.

Both dancers are highly watchable and inject a strong and very necessary degree of vitality into the production. We meet Cathy at the end of the marriage, then we go back five years when they first meet and fall in love. We hear this in song then it is picked up in dance in a very exciting manner with the use of BSL giving additional impetus to the production.

The very fine music of Sondheimsque composer and lyricist Jason Robert Brown is very sensitively played by the band, led by musical director David Laugharne, although Katy Rowe (violin) Beatrice Newman (Cello) Luke Adams (Guitar) and Matthew Farrell (Bass) give us more the sound quality of a small chamber orchestra. At the back of the stage they certainly make a very fine unmistakable communication to the production.

The singers are a delight to hear and dancers a delight to watch. They fill the 90 minutes in a totally captivating way that we come away full of delight.

Reviewed by: Michael Kelligan

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