HAODS are presenting the first musical to be performed in their studio adjacent to the Kenton Theatre at the beginning of next month.
The Last Five Years is a modern American musical by Jason Robert Brown that explores a five-year relationship between Jamie, a rising novelist and Cathy, a struggling actress.
The two protagonists are played by new HAODS members Joe Evans and Poppy Carter.
Joe is a supply teacher by day and teaches youth theatre by night, including at Stageworks, which has a school in Henley. Poppy is a professional photographer and also works for Google part time as a trend advisor. Poppy’s local theatre involvement can be traced back to Starmaker in Reading, where she performed in a number of shows in her youth. Joe, coincidentally, is married to another ex-Starmaker member, Pip Tuttle. Both have seen some professional experience in the past — Joe in Les Misérables and Dirty Dancing and Poppy in the movies St Trinian’s and Harry Potter.
Making his directorial debut for HAODS with this show is Andy Smith, who has previously been musical director for many local productions. As director, he has presented numerous student productions, shows across Asia, Europe and USA, as well as Young, Gifted And Black at the Chocolate Factory in London. Having spotted his future wife on the stage at the Kenton in a HAODS production, Andy has a strong connection with the society and continues to work as their Studio musical director, taking the helm for their “bijou” productions.
HAODS chairman Julie Huntington said: “The Last Five Years is a perfect storm of an exquisitely written story, with beguiling performances and a dynamite score. The HAODS studio space adds an extra intimacy to this bittersweet tale of love and loss.
“Cathy begins at the dusk of the relationship and Jamie at the dawn, and over the course of the performance their stories swap, with the pair only meeting fleetingly in the middle. The characters emit an irresistible glow and the actors tell a complicated tale with joyous, heartfelt clarity, sharp comic timing and a tremendous vocal delivery.
“It is beautiful, romantic, funny, draining, poignant and devastating piece. Presented for two nights only, this is a chance to see a new production with new members in a new setting.”
lThe Last Five Years is on at the Studio, New Street, on Friday and Saturday, November 1 and 2. All tickets are £8 and are available from the Box Office on 07514 054384 or at the Pet Shop, Bell Street.