The London theatre scene never ceases to amaze me. Squeezed above a pub, in a swelteringly hot room set above the rumbles of bankers freed from a day of trouble causing, we are presented with a musical. Ordinary Days is exactly what it says on the tin: a musical following the very ordinary lives of four very ordinary New Yorkers. It is the latest piece by American writer/composer Adam Gwon, and is set for a run at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival later this year.
We open to Warren, played by Neil Cameron, in a very ‘Book of Mormon’ style ‘Hello’ number where Warren introduces himself as a distributor of art advertisement. He is utterly unnoticed in his job that he does simply because he loves it. Deb, a comically frustrated student, is trying to finish a thesis she has absolutely no interest in. Cameron is precise in his actions and creates a believably shy and loveable character.
Nora Perone, who plays Deb is hilarious and wonderfully expressive; bringing this character to life in a clear and detailed manner. Claire and Jason, our ‘ordinary’ couple and love interest of the piece tie the musical together beautifully. Interwoven between our tale of Deb and Warren’s unusual turn of friendship is the story of Jason and Claire. Jason is new to New York and impulsively moves in with his new girlfriend as the excitement of being in the big city takes hold. It is a simple, picturesque story that is brought musically to life.
Our love story, mixed in with the humour of our young blossoming friendship, is a sweet balance that is well arranged and effective. Kirby Hughes and Alistair Frederick play our delightful couple. Both are sensitive, heartfelt, and sympathetic to characters that required subtlety and depth. The vocals of every cast member are outstanding and the quality of the music, again, is something quite stunningly impressive. Simply directed by Jen Coles to, I imagine, highlight the score that is very wordy and fast paced. There are a few moments where I did start to struggle to keep pace with the flow of musical dialogue. However, the cast are exceptionally clear in their deliveries, making what could potentially be a very overtly wordy score manageable and easy to follow.
Ordinary Days gives a beautiful and simple snapshot into the lives of the seemingly unremarkable people of New York. We eventually see a complacency set in each of our protagonists as they eventually realise the beauty and purpose they have each been looking for was in front of them all along. It is a delightful little musical, cleverly coined and skilfully delivered.
Ordinary Days is playing at the London Theatre Workshop until 17 June.