Preview- The Last Five Years- Aurora Theatre


By: Thomas Chan


Local theatre company Aurora Theatre is working on The Last Five Years, which opens next week at the Fringe Club. Producer of the show, Nicole Garbellini is thrilled to be producing Aurora's first musical. "I'm positive that people will love it and they'll certainly relate to it."


The Last Five Years is a beloved musical in the theatre community written by Jason Robert Brown. It examines a marriage from two different perspectives. The male lead, Jamie is a writer, and the female lead, Cathy is a struggling actress. We watch their love come together and apart. 


This show uses a unique form of storytelling in which Cathy's story is told in reverse chronological order (beginning the show at the end of the marriage). Jamie's story is told in chronological order, starting from the beginning of their love story. The characters do not directly interact with eachother for the most of the play. This makes for an interesting rehearsal process and allows the audience to imagine the story inbetween the songs.


The show was inspired by the real life marriage/divorce of Brown to Broadway actress, Theresa O'Neill. After the musical's success in 2002, O'Neill threatened legal action on the grounds the story of the musical represented her relationship with Brown far too closely to real life. Because of the case Brown changed the original song "I Could Be in Love With Someone Like You" to "Shiksa Goddess" in order to reduce the similarity between the character Cathy and O'Neill. The case was dropped but the love of the show has never stopped, with thousands of runs Off-Broadway since 2002. The show has become a staple in regional theatres. It also recently became a movie with Anna Kendrick.


Hong Kong's premiere stars Robert Burns and Eimar Mimi Burns with direction by Marek Steenkamp. Shockingly, the actors share the same last name but are of no relation.You might know Robert from his Heckler nominated performance in Hairspray and other performances in musicals around Hong Kong. Eimar is relatively new to Hong Kong but very excited to be involved with the show, as it's one of her favorites. 



"Preparing for the show was an amazing experience... Bobby and myself really dived in head first with the music... Marek, our director, allowed us to experiment with aspects of the character we wanted to bring out each time we added a layer of understanding and backstory to the couples' relationship, " says Eimar.


Director, Marek, worked on making the show connect with audiences through the themes of young love and hope. "I think The Last Five Years is such a beloved musical because it explores themes that all people can relate to. Obviously the show’s themes are based in the characters’ relationship with each other; however, there are multiple other themes that are explored... The Last Five Years looks at hope, young love, desperation, fulfillment, excitement, disappointment, career vs relationship and most importantly expectations."


Career vs. relationship is a theme that all Hong Kong audiences can certainly identify with, regardless if they're an artist or not. We highly recommend that you check out this beloved musical next week at the Fringe Club.


The show will be running May 18th-21st at 7:30pm. Tickets are available through HKTicketing and prices range from 208HKD for Fringe Club member to 260HKD for adults.  You can purchase them online or at the boxoffice. Due to some language, the show is recommended for ages 14 and up. You can find out more information at Aurora Theatre's facebook page and website.


The Last 5 Years is playing from May 18th-21st. For more information, click here.



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