"First, a story"
When The Last Five Years announced an extension of a week just after opening, it meant I was able to nab a pair of cheap tickets down the front, conveniently on the side where the shirtless scene happens, and take a friend. And I'm glad to I got to revisit the show, both to see it (literally) from a different angle and also to experience it with understudy Samuel Thomas playing Jamie, as Jonathan Bailey was suffering from an indisposition.
My original review of Jason Robert Brown's production of his own musical can be read here and as per, it still stands. Samantha Barks has really got the role of Cathy down to perfection with a beautiful line in rueful, reflective humour alongside that gorgeous voice. And Thomas did a great job as Jamie, perhaps more of a vocal match for his co-star as evidenced in a stellar 'Nobody Needs To Know' - my only note would be his clock dancing could be a little freer (and that's only because I've seen Bailey do it, my friend thought he 'clocked' just fine!).
From A1 and A2, there was an insane amount of stage management on display though - you can see right into the wings, the stagehands wheeling the door on and off were on view, it certainly shatters the illusion and if I were the St James, I don't think I'd've had those seats on sale. Being up close also meant that it was impossible to ignore that it was still Bailey's face on the book and bookshop display, could they really have not knocked up something with Thomas' bearded visage on it, as a memento for him if nothing else!
Nevertheless, still as enjoyable and touching as ever. And with just a few shows left to catch it, I have to say I'd still recommend tracking down a ticket if you can.
Running time: 90 minutes (without interval)
Booking until 3rd December