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Ordinary Days | Phoenix Arts Club

Ordinary Days at the Phoenix Arts Club in the heart of London's West End is a testament to the power of simplicity in musical theatre. There are musicals that rely on extravagant song and dance numbers to dazzle their audiences, and then there are others, like Ordinary Days, that choose to let the charm and the story shine through captivating songs. This production, directed (and produced) by Taylor Jay with musical direction by Ben Ward, successfully showcases the depth of emotion and connection that can be achieved through the art of storytelling and song.

Written by Adam Gwon, Ordinary Days is a beautiful sung-through musical that delves into the familiar theme of urban alienation, set in the heart of New York City. The lives of four seemingly unrelated individuals intersect one day at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Among them is an aspiring artist (Warren), a grumpy graduate student who has misplaced the crucial notes for her thesis while seeking a sense of calm (Deb), a young woman with a broken heart and haunted past (Claire), and her lover who is eager to make a commitment (Jason).

It's a simple premise, but within it lies the complexity of human connection, the pursuit of one's dreams, and getting through life. The choice of the Phoenix Arts Club as the venue for this production is a fitting one. Tucked away below the bustling city of London, it provides an intimate setting that enhances the storytelling. The very ordinariness of the space reminds us that everyone's story is interesting, different, and our lives often intersect with those of strangers in unexpected ways.

The minimalist set design, consisting of a stage with a projection backdrop depicting the different scenes and a small circular platform in the middle of the space, beautifully complements the production as the action unfolds and transitions between these two areas. It doesn't distract from the storytelling but instead draws the audience into the world of these four characters. This simplicity allows the audience to focus on the performances and the emotional depth of the story.

The cast of Ordinary Days delivers solid performances throughout. Michael Karl-Lewis as Warren, Emily Attridge-Cox as Deb, Daniel Walford as Jason, and Daisy Marletta as Claire all have their moments to shine and showcase their impressive vocal range. One of the most challenging aspects of sung-through musicals is that every beat, pause, phrase, and note matters to the storytelling and dramatic arc, and this cast rises to the occasion. They deliver nuanced performances without going over the top, allowing the lyrics to carry the story, which is no small feat.

The chemistry between the cast members is palpable, and their acting choices breathe life into these characters, making them very relatable. Each member of the ensemble brings a unique dimension to their role. Highlights of the show include the strong opening number, ‘One by One by One’, led by Karl-Lewis. Walford's rendition of ‘The Space Between' is a standout moment, as is Attridge-Cox's brilliant performance of ‘Calm’. However, it is Marletta's moving performance of ‘I'll Be Here’ that truly tugs at the heartstrings, leaving many in the audience in tears.

Ordinary Days is a musical that successfully combines humour, emotion and inspiration. It explores the complexities of human relationships and the pursuit of dreams, no matter how big or small. At its core, the message is simple yet poignant: let go and embrace a leap of faith. As I left the theatre, I couldn't help but notice a prop flyer that read, "Don't worry, everything will be okay." It's a fitting sentiment that encapsulates the heart-warming and comforting essence of Ordinary Days. In a world filled with chaos and uncertainties, this musical reminds us that even in the midst of ordinary days, there is beauty, hope and the possibility of something extraordinary.

AD | gifted tickets in return for an honest review


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