EFR - Reviews of Ordinary Days

Ordinary Days

Sat 4th – Sat 18th August 2018

reviews

Ella Kemp

at 22:49 on 18th Aug 2018

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Starting a show by mocking the very habit that infects the festival on a daily basis offers a confident introduction to ‘Ordinary Days’ - we can all agree to hate flyering. The lives of four individuals in New York intersect across the things they haven’t found, and some that they don’t always look for. Adam Gwon’s hit musical is brought to the stage by four plucky students from the University of Nottingham, first-time fringe goers but no less convincing performers.

It’s an ambitious feat to tackle a story about adults reaching a crossroads in their lives when you’re only just getting to grips with the concept of leaving home. Speaking as a recent graduate to a group of students, it feels exciting and inspiring to see young creatives taking a leap to put on a show about the rest of our lives.

The show is entirely sung, jumping from soloist to soloist and allowing for tight harmonies to fill the gaps in-between. Aspiring artists moving to a big city, lovers moving in and growing up - everyone bounces off each other with a similar desire to thrive. It’s a pleasure to watch.

In a modest location with a clear innocence in this company’s early start, the teething issues are palpable, but the potential is no less exciting. A universally relatable and heartwarming story performed with kind-hearted energy and uncynical love for the medium at play, it’s difficult to find a reason to sneer at this performance of ‘Ordinary Days’.

It’s easy to rely on the quality of a source text and its rhythm when performing an established musical. But on this tiny stage, four singers and a relentlessly talented piano player bring the script to life with a sparkle in their eye. It might not be Broadway yet, but there’s no stopping this company at this rate. The only way is up.

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Georgina Macrae

at 23:06 on 18th Aug 2018

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'Ordinary Days' poses the question, what’s your “Big Picture?” Check you have the right perspective, and work for what you really want. A positive message from a small-scale production.

This performance offers simple people with simple stories, delivered with pleasing rhyming lyrics: moving into a flat with your girlfriend; reminiscing about all the stored away pictures and objects you can’t quite get rid of. 'Ordinary days' offers that day-dreaming quality which makes each story have a kind of fairy-tale element to it.

Except for a few out of tune notes this cast of four, along with their pianist, perform sweet songs and carry a friendly message. Handing out flyers, trying to get people to listen… it’s just like the Fringe, but in America, for an incarcerated artist. But this musical is a little heart-warming gem, and is Fringe-appropriate. The University of Nottingham cast are not particularly professional, but their show makes you feel nice. The crux of the show sees the characters throwing pieces of paper with encouraging phrases written on them:"Throwing these flyers out of a high window, they look like confetti. We’re so high up. They’re falling so far, and look - a crowd is gathering..." Could it be more American? Probably not. But it holds its charming energy and the packed-audience all feel the vitality of it.

Angry Deb, and eager Warren, are compelling on their own, and even better singing at one another. The snappy attitude gains strength when faced with puppy-like friendliness. Claire and Deb are similarly more fun to watch when they sing together, though their moving-in and arguing story is less engaging. A quintessentially “nice” show, with pleasant songs and endearing performances.

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