Ordinary Days

Julie Atherton’s production of Ordinary Days at the Cockpit is a work of art. It’s easy to identify and relate to the cast, who tell their stories in a manner that is raw yet full of humanity, hopes, dreams, loves and fears.

a beautifully human musical

The musical by Adam Gwon follows four very different yet in some respects similar New Yorkers. Their lives are like threads: separate, but weaving in and out of each other, intersecting at moments before then going their separate ways. We meet the pairs at seemingly opposite ends of their relationships; Warren (Dean Makowski-Clayton) is an artist who revels in the beauty and intricacies of life, a quintessential dreamer who tries to teach Deb (Hannah Turner), a graduate student who is incredibly ambitious, how to let go, slow down and look around at life once in a while. Jason (Jonathan Carlton) has just moved in with his girlfriend because he wants to be closer to her, whilst Claire (Laura Dawn Pyatt), on the other hand, is having trouble letting go of the past and letting Jason in. It’s essentially an hour-long one-sided conversation with four friends that you get to know really well by the end.

The piece is cleverly constructed. Most of what we are told comes through a stream of consciousness as the actors talk, or rather sing, about their feelings and what they are going through with an immediacy that is highly engaging. The focus remains on the characters throughout, thanks to the simplicity of the musical’s design from the tech to the accompaniment. Bob Sterett’s set design lets the actors construct their world as they need, slowly building to the New York skyline, which allows us to use our imagination and see the world through their eyes. The lighting design by Domino Mannheim is incredibly subtle, and helps us follow the parallels between the different story lines. The design adds gravity to the quieter moments and ballads that not only focus our attention but add vulnerability to the actors’ performances. Gwon’s music often reflects the characters themselves, for example, Deb’s rapid fire staccato-like lyrics and melodies match her fast-paced thinking and busybodiness. Like the set and lighting, the accompaniment itself is very basic; the focus is on the words and the emotions and this proves to be very touching. The strategy pays off, because we become immersed in their lives and that triggers our emotional response. We see their world, and New York, through them and it’s amazing to behold.

Makowski-Clayton , Turner, Carlton and Pyatt could have had an empty stage, and still would have given outstanding performances. Makowski-Clayton imbues Warren with a sense of eagerness touched with warmth. Turner’s portrayal of Deb is high-energy, strung out, and at times comic, as she rattles off lyrics and thoughts at a pace that stops us lingering for too long on the heavier moments. In his portrayal of Jason, Carlton is very open, honest, straightforward and endearing, managing a tear-jerking rendition of Favourite Places. Pyatt matched that with I’ll Be Here, using her powerful voice, micro gestures and a range of expressions to build her character.

This musical is only as strong as its actors, and they are phenomenal. Ordinary Days is a beautifully human musical, bringing the problems the characters face home to us and breaking down the distance between audience and character. An incredible production and anything but ordinary.

Reviews by Katerina Partolina Schwartz

New Wimbledon Theatre

The Rocky Horror Show

★★★★
Pleasance

Diana: The Untold and Untrue Story

★★★★★
Charing Cross Theatre

From Here To Eternity

★★★★
Just The Tonic at the Caves / The Pleasance Theatre Trust

Hannah Fairweather: Just a Normal Girl Who Enjoys Revenge

★★★★
Soho Theatre

Elf Lyons; Raven

★★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

This sung-through show with music and lyrics by American composer Adam Gwon is set in New York City. It tells the story of four people struggling to connect and is made up of pieces that, like its characters, reveal themselves to be a part of a much bigger story than we might have first imagined.

Most Popular See More

SIX

From £21.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mamma Mia!

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets