Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Review: (Vancouver) Ordinary Days

(Too) Ordinary
by David C. Jones

Love Relephant Theatre – love musical theatre – love these actors – love that artists support other artists. Love talent, but did not love the show. Liked parts of it though.

Ordinary Days is written by Andy Gwon, an award-winning and fast-rising musical theatre artist. But like so many new musicals from young writers in New York, it appears, he is fascinated by the ordinary. Songs about Cul de Sac’s (“literally a dead end”) and straight couples moving in together (“I’ll rip this tape off the cardboard box”) and finding stuff in the street (“I found this book”).

There are four characters – Jennie Neumann plays Deb a hard-edged New York transplant that lost her notes for her thesis. Steven Greenfield plays a slightly loopy Gay artist named Warren and finder of her book. Shane Snow and Alison Macdonald play Claire and Jason a dating couple who decide to move in together. They sort of all meet at The Met Art Gallery about 40 minutes into the 80-minute show.

The staging in the small Carousel Theatre Rehearsal Space is interesting. Audience members line three walls and about 20 more sit on stools in the middle. The actors walk in corridors around them sometimes on busy New York streets, other times wandering the halls of the galleries.

There is beautiful singing particularly by the women and it is the best comedy work ever seen from Jeannie Neumann. But none of the songs are memorable and most of the text totally conversational – no poetry, no inner feelings mostly just facts – “I order a latte with extra foam – ooooh oooh.”

Director Julie McIsaac gets some truthful performances from the cast; Shane Snow is quite touching in one scene and there are some funny New York moments. But nothing really happens and there are no twists or surprises to drive the story. Alison MacDonald’s character has a reveal very near the end of the show but it’s too late to impact the story.

With such a talented cast and a short history of great works – it is hard to see why this script was chosen. Did nobody do a Google Search of other productions of this ordinary play?

Ordinary Days runs to January 19

1 comment:

  1. I wonder if the reviewer himself bothered doing a Google Search - or reading the program - before attributing the show to "Andy Gwon" instead of Adam Gwon. And "The Met Art Gallery"?? Wow.


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