Music &Lyrics: Adam Gwon
Director: Leah Fogo
Reviewer: Iain Sykes
Four people in New York City, each in search of the big picture for their future, each afraid of letting go of their past. Ordinary Days, Adam Gwon’s musical of youthful doubt (which premiered in London in 2008), is a compelling and moving show in its latest incarnation from Top Note Arts at Salford’s King’s Arms Theatre.
Gwon’s music for this sung through show has a great maturity and intelligence about it. Brought to life by a cleverly arranged three piece band under Musical Director, Scott Stait, the score is effective and carries the story forward in a deceptively understated manner, even without any big hooks to get the audience humming on the way out.
The premise of Ordinary Days, where the lives of the four characters converge in one moment that changes everything, depends greatly on capturing the fast pace of Gwon’s work which director, Leah Fogo, does magnificently with her young cast, making the most of the space.
Laura Coard and Matt Concannon are affecting as the couple in a troubled relationship, and Coard’s performance of the moving ‘I’ll Be Here’ brings a tear to her own eye as well as those of the audience. The other half of the cast, a burgeoning odd couple friendship between Oliver Yank’s wide-eyed Warren and student Deb, played in a fabulous sparkling geeky way by Aimee Horwich has some lovely sharp moments.
All four interact really well throughout, and the lead up to the final scenes, where all four characters finally, in one moment, find what they really want is an intensely colourful joy, both physically and emotionally.
Ordinary Days is a musical which proves that, sometimes, less is more, with its stripped down melodies and basic arrangements, and even though some may consider it overly sentimental and self-absorbed in places, this Top Note Arts production is a gorgeous example, not only of this musical but of the quality that the Manchester fringe scene has to offer.
Runs until 21st June