The Last Five Years

Aug 11 2018 | By More

★★★★☆   Clever and Refreshing

PQA Venues @ Riddle’s Court (venue 277): Wed 8 – Sun 19 Aug 2018
Review by Sarah Moyes

A clever and heartbreaking twist on a classic story, The Last Five Years, from Q Productions at Riddles Court, blows all your expectations of a romantic musical right out the water.

The story of The Last Five Years is not anything new. To put it simply, it’s just another tale of two people who fall in and out of love. In this particular story it follows the lives of Cathy and Jamie, two New Yorkers in their twenties and the love story of their five-year relationship.

Last 5 years (Riddle's Court) PQA edfringe 2018

But that’s where the conventional musical ends. Directed by Gerard Bentall with musical direction by Sam Coates, The Last Five Years is actually a cleverly refreshing production that challenges your preconceptions of how a musical is usually structured.

Not only is James Robert Brown’s show almost all performed in sung verse, it also has a very unconventional structure – Cathy tells her story backwards while Jamie tells his version of events in chronological order with the two characters only ever meeting once right in the middle of the show.

Connor Burnett plays Jamie, a writer whose career is just taking off while his girlfriend Cathy, played by Caitlin Tipping, is on the opposite career ladder as a struggling actress waiting for her big break.

Both Burnett and Tipping are recent graduates of the MGA Academy, and prove themselves to be hugely talented in this very demanding production that never really gives either of them time to take breath.

stand out moments

The songs are all performed well and it’s clear that both Connor and Caitlin can really sing, but there are a few stand out moments in the production. Caitlin gives a tear-jerking performance as she opens the show with beautiful ballad Still Hurting while Jamie entertains on the comical Shiksa Goddess which details his excitement at dating outside of his Jewish faith.

The whole musical is played out in one setting, a simple sofa in front of a New York skyline, but that is all that is needed here as the narrative is cleverly recounted through the songs. Although if you are not already aware that both stories are being told from different time scales then this may be a little confusing to begin with.

That being said, The Last Five Years is a really special show. Smart, heart-breaking, and beautiful, it’s a refreshing take on a musical genre we think we know so well.

Running time: one hour 10 minutes (no interval)
PAQ Venues @ Riddle’s Court (Venue 277), Lawnmarket, EH1 2PG
Dates: Wednesday 8 – Sunday 19 August 2018
Daily: 2pm
Tickets and details:

Venue website:
Twitter: @PqaVenues
Facebook: @PQAVenues


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