Ordinary Days, London Theatre Workshop
Ordinary Days is a one-act musical in which four young New Yorkers who aren’t quite happy with their lives sing out their troubles in just 70 minutes. The plot could be right out of Sex & the City, and it all comes across as a bit First World Problems, but the cast are great and there’s a kind of a twist at the end.
Warren (Neil Cameron) is trying to find meaning and purpose in a job which amounts to little more than looking after the cat of a trustafarian artist who’s currently in jail. Deb (Nora Perone) seems to find everything (EVERYTHING!) either annoying or stressful or both, which possibly has something to do with the graduate thesis she’s writing on Sylvia Plath. And now she’s lost her notebook. Oh no.
Jason (Alistair Frederick) is really excited to be moving in with his girlfriend Claire (Kirby Hughes), although she seems less keen to have him there. Why?
We find out later, possibly too late, in the penultimate song to be precise, why Claire’s unhappy. By which time Claire’s become a fairly annoying presence on stage. It’s a shame. She’s got a really good reason for being like she is.
While a lot of the action in this show seems fairly trivial, as well as unexplained, each character does end up in a better place than where they started. Even Deb seems to chill out a bit.
The ending of the show is very sweet and you’ll leave with a light heart even if you can’t help thinking that this musical could benefit from a major re-write (and possibly a second act) to really get under the skin of these characters. Ordinary Days would probably work better if we knew more about these four people singing at us. It’s only Claire that we really understand by the end of the show.