Contemporary quartet give voice to the modern musical
By Myron My
Ordinary Days is a nuanced look at four people living in New York, and explores how chance encounters with others – no matter how small – can affect one’s life in significant ways. This original indie musical, with music and lyrics by Adam Gwon and directed by Chris Parker, is a great choice as the debut show for Cheeky Theatre.
The four performers (Anna-Louise Hammar, Caitlin Penno, Craig Irons and Nicholas Renfree-Marks) are all highly talented singers and when their voices were combined they created some truly electrifying moments.
Hammar is perfectly cast as the somewhat aggressive Deb. Her comedy timing is spot on and more often than not, merely her facial expression had the audience in stitches. Irons was also strong and committed as Jason, for even when singing and letting the song take him over, he remained passionately in character.
There are a few songs though that seem to be simply “filler”, and don’t do anything except showcase the singers’ obvious talents. The songs that really deliver are those that deal with the characters’ emotions and assist in moving the story forward. The four singers really connect with those moments, especially Penno as Claire, when singing of the tragedy of a past love in the moving “I’ll Be Here”.
However, there were times where projection was not as loud as it should have been and key lyrics were sometimes drowned out by the piano. Having said that, the music played by Stephen McMahon during the 80-minute show is quite mesmerizing and really holds this whole production together.
Despite the New York setting, the set design by Adam ‘Gus’ Powers and costumes for me brought flashbacks of John Brack’s famous Australian painting Collins St, 5pm. Everything we see is in shades of black, white and gray. This effectively conveyed the idea that these people are lost in the humdrum crowd but are trying to find their own path. The projection of various images at the back of the stage as crafted by Barton Thomas was used well to add to the physical environments we were seeing, such as city skylines and a painting to portray the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Overall, Ordinary Days is a strong debut production for Cheeky Theatre and they should be congratulated for championing original musicals, and bringing something so different to Melbourne’s burgeoning theatre scene.
Venue: Revolt Productions, 12 Elizabeth Street Kensington
Season: Until 6 July | 8:00pm
Tickets: $33 Full | $28 Conc