The Last Five Years

Written and composed by Jason Robert Brown, THE LAST FIVE YEARS is a contemporary cult hit that explores a five-year relationship between Jamie Wellerstein, a rising novelist, and Cathy Hiatt, a struggling actress.

The stories unfold however in opposite directions, with Jamie travelling in chronological order – starting the show at the beginning of their relationship  – while Cathy travels in reverse chronological order – commencing the show at the conclusion of their union and travelling back to their first date.  The pair only directly interact in the middle of the show during their wedding.

Featuring the incomparable talents of Elise McCann as Cathy and Christian Charisiou as Jamie,  THE LAST FIVE YEARS is an off-Broadway hit that has developed a cult following worldwide with its extraordinary ability to express universal feelings of love and heartbreak into a deeply affecting and intimate musical. With a beautiful, witty and emotionally powerful score that will hook you from the first note, THE LAST FIVE YEARS is a brilliantly funny and tender look at a burgeoning relationship from two perspectives that is at once uplifting, heart-wrenching and honest.

Directed by Elsie Edgerton-Till and Musically Directed by Daryl Wallis.


STAGE NOISE – Diana Simmonds

“The main cause for joy and whooping is Elise McCann as the damp Cathy. She radiates warmth and optimism, even from the depths of Podunk, Ohio where she’s paying her dues in summer stock. ”

Elise McCann is a shining beacon of meaning, heart and humour and it’s great to be able to experience her up close and personal.”


“ Both are excellent, vividly portraying their characters and the way they change over time as the relationship between them shifts.”

“ McCann gives a radiant performance as she moves from hurt and pain to the sweet optimism she feels at the start of their affair. Her final number as she looks so hopefully to the future is incredibly poignant. She’s also extremely funny in the comic number about Cathy’s awkward auditions. “

“…the narrative flows with great clarity and emotional nuance.

The Last Five Years is a little gem of a show, and beautifully performed by two charismatic performers.”


“McCann is ideally cast as Cathy and notably funny in a sequence of fumbled audition scenes that suggest she’s not just unlucky when it comes to nailing a job on Broadway. ”

“ ..character trajectories so clearly marked out ”

TIME OUT – Cassie Tongue

“McCann takes to this difficult role with vulnerability and openness, elevating Cathy from someone who could be pitied into someone who feels recognisably lost in love. “

“The two performers are two of our best “

“there’s plenty to love: the open, giving performances, a score dotted with a few gems, and the chance to see two great musical theatre performers up close.”


“A rare Sydney staging at Ensemble, showcasing two talented singers and an incredible pianist. ”

“Elise McCann delivers a beautiful performance as Cathy, lending her pure clear voice to the woman finally broken by a marriage to a cheating husband and a career that never quite got to where she hoped. The character is easily more likable and McCann captures Cathy’s honest emotion and unguarded devotion, devoid of any ulterior motives. .”

“an engaging work as it refuses to lay everything out simply for the audience and is artfully expressed in the intimate space of Ensemble’s small thrust stage. ”


“Christian Charisiou and Elise McCann didn’t so much perform their roles in this musical – more like they drank every last syllable and catchy songs with ecstatic reverence.”

“Elise McCann crafted her character like a master knitter, never missing a stitch, and stayed in character just as meticulously when it was her solo, or Jamie’s turn in the spotlight. “

“This little production was a triumph. “

ARTS HUB - Judith Greenaway

“..quality acting and singing, superb musicianship and engaging direction … a relaxed and entertaining night of musical excellence.”

“Elise McCann and Christian Charisiou are terrific here with voices that stand alone and, in those very occasional moments, blend beautifully together ”

“(Cathy’s) obsession with (Jamie) and inability to see her life after him is very powerfully reverse constructed by McCann who eventually returns … to the perkily irresistible and sweetly excitable girl with charm and self-deprecating humour. McCann is very funny in the painful audition sequences especially. ”

“This is an intimate night at the theatre. A shared experience of text and textural density in the story and in the committed excellence of the three gifted performers. ”

DAILY REVIEW– Jason Whittaker

“Ensemble Theatre certainly casts well. Elise McCann and Christian Charisiou are terrific as the needy aspiring actress Cathy and cocky emerging writer Jamie.”

“McCann and Charisiou negotiate the wild tonal shifts – and some wild melodic runs – with real skill. They lean into the youthful foibles to create two believably dreamy New Yorkers ”

SMH – John Shand

“McCann, by contrast, fills Cathy to the brim with charm, sweetness and pathos…. When softly singing introverted sentiments, or when being comical (depicting an audition), she’s captivating..”

“They are flawed, raging, caring, funny people, who sing songs in which the lyrics flare with ingenious rhymes, while the music is wildly diverse, innovative, edgy and sometimes delicately beautiful.“


“ …undeniably polished, … the simple two-hander feel(s) confident and dynamic.”

“ Playing Jamie and Cathy are a couple of incontrovertibly excellent performers; Christian Charisiou and Elise McCann are both charismatic and enormously talented. They explore the material with impressive zeal, bringing to the stage extraordinary vigour and skill”


“…two talented performers who gave their all.  Their individual journeys were well charted ”

THE AUSTRALIAN – Deborah Jones

“There is almost unbearable poignancy in being shown how things turn out… [Christian] Charisiou, all puppy-dog excitement at the start, inexorably shows Jamie’s youthful self-belief hardening into unpleasing self-regard. In contrast, [Elise] McCann, who is wonderful, gradually sheds Catherine’s sadness. We are left, right at the end, with her shining, hopeful face. 


“This show is about the voices and that is where this production absolutely soars! The casting of Elise McCann as Cathy and Christian Charisiou as Jamie is perfection.”

“Both actors are so skilled that they master this challenge with apparent ease and they are a joy to watch. “

“The heart and soul of the show lies with the two performers and the casting of these two is spot on. I would be happy listening to McCann sing the phone book (please can we see more of this phenomenal performer on our stages!!) “

THEATRE NOW – Alana Kaye (On the Town)

“Both (McCann and Charisiou) give nuanced, heartfelt performances and enjoy a nice chemistry, even though most of the time they’re singing in isolation. Charisiou charms in his Christmas jumper and energetic rendition of ‘The Schmuel Song’ and McCann delights in ‘Climbing Uphill’, while her ‘Still Hurting’ plucks hard at many a heartstring. “

“..very real, very flawed human characters.”

“This production has stripped it bare, leaving space for the songs to soar. It’s a heart-wrenching musical, and if it’s on your bucket list don’t miss this chance to see it.”

MOLONG ONLINE – Toni Carroll

“Both actors are fabulous … Vibrant energy, crystal clear voices, they are really en pointe.” 


“They both played their parts so well that by the end we found ourselves wanting to wrap Cathy in a massive hug and slap Jamie down.”

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