Review By Caroline Hanks-Farmer
We are sat in a stifling hot theatre space, it’s been an ordinary kind of day. The heat makes you wonder if you are ever going to experience goosebumps or a chill to the spine again. And then …….. the music starts, lights dim, the performance begins. It’s not long before you are engulfed in an overwhelming sense of emotion. Ordinary Days has the power to make you forget the heat and give you goosebumps, tears and plenty of laughs along the way.
Ordinary Days follows the parallel lives of four New Yorkers struggling to find meaning in the madness: Claire, who can’t let go of her past; Jason, determined to begin their future together; Warren, an artist who’s lost his sense of purpose; and Deb, a student who’s lost her thesis notes. It is a witty, poignant, and ultimately very relatable story about human connection and finding beauty in unexpected places.
In 2008 Adam Gwon won the Fred Ebb award. A talented writer, this show and particularly the song I’ll be Here For You is a poignant reminder of life’s vulnerability. Evil is present, we are reminded frequently, particularly in light of recent attacks in London and Manchester. But this show encourages you to see the beauty that surrounds us. To embrace life, be daring, love and explore.
The actors Neil Cameron, Alistair Frederick, Kirby Hughes, Nora Perone all entice you into believing in them. No set to speak of, minimal props and no elaborate costumes required. For it is the power of the lyrics and the performance which makes this no “ordinary” show.
I won’t single out particular performers because Cameron, Frederick, Hughes, and Perone all equally had superb moments, so I’ll mention a few favourites. Warren (Neil Cameron) gave his “Life Story” thoroughly adorable, and perfect to calm Deb’s (Nora Perone) angst about life. It’s all about perspective, after all we don’t all appreciate the same art work do we? The end song Beautiful sung by Cameron and Perone illustrates this to perfection.
It’s obvious that Claire (Kirby Hughes) has a secret or rather something she can’t let go off. Scared to move on and to close a chapter, you feel her sense of loss. None more so than in I’ll Be Here. I’ve recently heard this sung by Audra McDonald in her recent concert, and this piqued my interest to see this show. Hughes reduced me to tears, her ability to sing this song about her journey, to make you feel her pain and loss, is truly stunning.
Finally Jason (Alistair Frederick) is deeply in love and can’t quite comprehend why Claire isn’t shall we say on the same page. Ever hopeful his number Favourite Places was my special moment from him.
Forget the heat, go prepared wear light clothes, drink water but I implore you, don’t miss this terrific unassuming production of Ordinary Days. The melodies, vocals and memories will stay with you for some time, after all, there is absolutely nothing “ordinary” about this superb production.