Four characters named Claire (Kirsten Murphy Rossiter), Jason (Kenneth Meyer), Debs (Josie Piers) and Warren (Logan Timbre) cross paths as they try to figure out where they fit into the relatively viewed ‘bigger picture’ of their lives. They're somewhat amusingly caught up in the New York hustle and bustle, trying to find calm and focus in the madness of a revealed snapshot of a day-in-their-lives in the aptly titled musical Ordinary Days, currently onstage at the Baxter Theatre.
A modern, mostly sung story, Ordinary Days, highlights that there’s beauty to be found in the small details of our everyday existence if we’re willing to look for these. Who knows, a flyer from a random stranger may just put your life on the right, and very unexpected, path. It's a lovely angle for a contemporary musical to take in making it not only delightful, but relatably so, in celebrating the apparent average for its life-changing potential in any given moment.
The narrative takes adulting clichés and rom-com type scenarios and craftily put it to song in an enjoyable fashion —think Friends meets Remember Me and PS I Love You as far as context and tone for a story that balances friendship in relation to love and loss type relationships.
Aesthetically the minimalistic set design allows the performers to continuously transform their space with the arrangement of black boxed against a New York skyline backdrop. This gives their characters the freedom to play without the distraction of unnecessary props. It also provides striking contrast to the climax of the tale as the perfect frame for a beautiful burst of colour.
Some of the direction choices regarding the onstage placement of performers and lyric deliveries had me pondering the thought-process behind it, and there was a prolonged scene change that broke the fluidity of the production for me. But, such questions and bug bears are small issues in comparison to the larger enjoyment-scale of the relationship-tapestry created by Adam Gwon’s musical that brought a smile to my face.
Piers delivers the stand-out performance with her acting matching her vocal abilities in giving depth of expression to her character in finding Debs' source of empowerment in self-expression and acceptance. Her onstage connection with the idealistic and quirky cat-sitter Warren, as entertainingly portrayed by Timbre, elevates the journey of Debs and Warren’s platonic friends above the turbulent love-relationship that unfolds between the couple played by Murphy Rossiter and Meyer. The latter connection required a bit more pathos for me to fully invest in their journey, though still very charming to see unfold.
Ordinary Days may be a bit precious, though, this is not something that the musical in any manner or form tries to hide; it rather endearingly embraces this characteristic. In fact, in the song ‘Sort-Of Fairy Tale’ Warren sings that ‘it’s about as precious as precious can get’, with Debs' response later on summarising my experience of the show perfectly too: ‘It’s a little precious, but it spoke to me.’
If you're in the mood for a funny and quaint modern-day musical performed by a very committed and animated quartet, then Ordinary Days, presented by Square Pegged Productions at the Baxter Theatre’s Flipside until 25 May 2019, is just the theatre night-out for you. Tickets are available online through Webtickets.