REVIEW: Ordinary Days (Bridewell Theatre) ★★★
Ordinary Days premiered in 2008 at London’s Finborough theatre, before moving to its rightful home off-Broadway the following year. Set in New York, it follows the intersecting lives of four characters finding and losing their way in the city that never sleeps. From hailing cabs in the rain, to getting lost in the expanse of the Metropolitan Museum and bemoaning the size of tiny apartments, these are NYC stories we are familiar with. The real charm is in the songs, and the relationships that writer and composer Adam Gwon created between our muddled and striving heroes.
Claire and Jason are a couple in trouble. We watch them unpack in their new apartment, and through wistful songs like ‘Space between’ and ‘Let things go’ we see that all is not as rosy as it ought to be. More interesting, though, is the relationship wrought between Warren and Claire when the former finds the latter’s postgraduate thesis notes on a park bench. Watching the hopelessly optimistic Warren form a friendship with the prickly and cynical Deb had us wracking our brains for other examples of burgeoning platonic friendships portrayed in this way. we couldn’t come up with many. ‘Sort of fairy-tale’ is the number the unlikely friends sing that captures the essence of Ordinary Days, which at just 80 minutes long, is fleetingly sweet.
The cast might not hit every note with true West End professionalism, but this is a taut production with moments of brilliance. Glen Jordan’s portrayal of Warren’s relentless positivity is pitch perfect, and Kate Gledhill keeps Deb on the right side of likeable with comedic skill. The show is weaker in the ensemble moments (there were points where we struggled to make the lyrics out as voices fought with each other) but still worth a watch if you’re in need of a big city pick-me-up.
Reviewed by April Delaney