Adam Gwon’s Ordinary Days celebrates the normal. These are ultra-relatable characters who will move you in astonishing ways. Gwon’s music is beautiful. This joyous show will stick with you.
It follows Deb and Warren, and Jason and Claire. A platonic relationship and a romantic relationship, and how communication makes and breaks us. There are no spoken words, and yet this show tugs at your heart strings.
Nicola Bowman as Deb is incredible. This deeply insecure, neurotic mid-twenties grad student is someone we’ve all been in a stressful moment, searching for that seemingly unobtainable calm. Bowman does a truly remarkable job and receives well-deserved, hearty laughter.
Joel Granger continues to prove his versatility on stage with hilarious and unexpectedly profound Warren. Apparently happy with his life, Deb helps to reveal how unsettled he is. Granger’s charming smile, confident stage presence and wonderful voice creates a warm and endearing focal point. “Life Story (Reprise)” is a significant turning point for Warren and indeed the full story.
Granger and Bowman are irrefutably phenomenal.
Jason (Matthew Hamilton) adores his partner Claire (Brittanie Shipway) who is unknowingly pushing him away. These two are the serious couple to balance the humour from Deb and Warren and their songs are sadder and slower but just as important. “Favourite Places” gives Hamilton the space to shine vocally and emotionally. Shipway tears your heart out as Claire’s full story is revealed in “I’ll Be Here”.
These voices are wonderful, full and moving. The four-piece band sounds much larger but executes this exquisite music wonderfully.
It’s a fairly minimal set utilising shapes to represent various things – paintings, chairs, buildings – and allows the audience to really use their imagination to be involved in this show. There’s nothing obviously screaming New York at us, but Gwon’s lyrics allow us to immerse ourselves in its world.
Ordinary Days is about people finding themselves and their partners. It’ll break your heart apart, piece it back together and warm it thoroughly.
It’s a shame this double-bill shared an opening night with another large production in Melbourne. I hope this one gets the hype it deserves. I left with a sore face from smiling and slightly smudged makeup from tears.
Ordinary Days is on as part of Pursued by Bear’s double-bill with 21 Chump Street and plays at Melbourne’s Chapel off Chapel until 18 June 2017.
Photo credit: Fon Photography