Those who work together stay together, as the saying goes, and that certainly seems to be the case for actors Graham Tudor and Helen Noble.
For, as well as running a successful theatre company Tread Productions, the married couple are spending all their time together rehearsing for their next production – The Last Five Years!
A West End leading actor, Graham’s credits include playing the title role of Joseph in Joseph and The Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Mamma Mia and Grease. Meanwhile, his wife Helen is most recognised as Abby Davies from Channel 4’s Hollyoaks.
Now they will be swapping their hometown of Hunts Cross for New York as they play an American couple in the smash-hit Broadway musical which will be staged at The Epstein Theatre from Thursday, 15th to Saturday 17th June.
Rehearsals are well underway for the musical and the couple admit they have been digging deep into their own relationship in order to play the parts of Cathy, a vivacious struggling actress, and Jamie, a hotshot up-and-coming novelist.
Explained Helen: “We have cried a lot! This heart-breaking and hilarious musical takes the audience on the emotional rollercoaster through the heart-rending relationship of leading characters Cathy and Jamie who fall in and out of love over the course of five years together.”
“We love the musical because it tells their story in a clever way chronicling the story from opposite ends of the relationship; Jamie’s story moving forward from the beginning when all the hope and excitement still lies ahead, and Cathy’s opening at the tragic end of the relationship where all hope is lost, her story moving in reverse through turbulent times back to the start of the relationship.”
The Last Five Years was the perfect choice of musical for Graham and Helen whose own relationship began on stage!
Graham remembered: “We met whilst starring in panto! I was the Prince and Helen was the Princess in Jack and the Beanstalk in Plymouth in 2005! Fate brought us together as both of us were brought in at the last minute to perform in the panto. We got married on stage each night and soon after we were married in real life!”
The couple moved to Liverpool and set up their own theatre company and acting school which celebrates its 10thanniversary this year. They were delighted to be approached by The Epstein Theatre to produce its in-house production for summer 2017
Said Helen: “The musical is so beautifully written with really powerful emotional songs, we bought the album and became obsessed with it!”
Now all they needed was the perfect director to bring the stories and songs to life on stage. The pair recruited the services of acclaimed Welsh director Iestyn Arwel. Iestyn trained at Drama Centre London and holds a BA Hons in Acting and Directing. Iestyn has performed extensively on stage and screen throughout the UK and regularly appears on S4C Welsh soap Rownd a Rownd. He is currently in development with a series he’s written and will direct for Welsh television.
Revealed Iestyn: “I jumped at the chance of directing this musical – it’s so raw and honest. I went to see it at the West End at a time when I was going through a break up and it just spoke to me!”
“When a relationship breaks up, we only usually hear one side of the story but this time you get the whole picture.
“The relationship between Cathy and Jamie is so complex. You can watch their relationship from tragic end to hopeful beginning and hopeful beginning to tragic end, as Jamie and Cathy unpeel the layers and share their separate tale of their last five years together.”
Written by Tony and Drama Desk Award-winning composer, Jason Robert Brown (Songs for a New World, Parade), The Last Five Years premiered at Chicago’s Northlight Theatre in 2001 and was then produced Off-Broadway in March 2002 before touring the world to critical acclaim. It has since been adapted into a film starring Anna Kendrick and is quickly becoming a beloved classic.
Theatre manager, Rebekah Pichilingi, added: “We are delighted to collaborate with Tread Productions and are confident that our audiences will fall in love with this beautiful, funny musical.
“It’s exceptionally powerful and emotional musical numbers will have you laughing and crying as Graham and Helen deliver truly exquisite performances.”
Tickets for this poignant production are now on sale so book now to avoid disappointment. In the meantime, you can enjoy a sneak preview of the musical at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qRcZqgVVzmQ
The Last Five Years
Dates: Thursday, 15th to Saturday 17th June
Tickets: From £19 to £22
To book tickets please call 0844 888 4411* or go online at www.epsteinliverpool.co.uk* or in person at The Epstein Theatre Box Office from 2pm – 6pm Monday – Thursday and 12pm-6pm Friday – Saturday.
*Subject to booking fee. All prices include a £1 per ticket venue restoration levy
Tickets are also available to book via TicketQuarter at www.ticketquarter.co.uk or call 0844 800 0410.