Tag: Adam Gwon

Pursued By Bear Presents ORDINARY DAYS

Authentic and accessible

By Joana Simmons

Presented as the second part of a unique double bill, Ordinary Days is a slick contemporary chamber musical with heart. Bought to us by independent performance and production hire company, Pursued By Bear, this 90-minute show accomplishes their vision of telling great stories and challenging the theatre industry. The stories of four characters going about their days in New York weave into our hearts and each other’s lives through the delightful music and lyrics by Adam Gwon. It is a relatable, believable and thoroughly enjoyable show about growing up and enjoying the view.


Chapel off Chapel is humming as the almost full house takes their seats. The white tulle suspended from the ceiling provides the perfect canvas for the colourful chirpy showtune opening sung by the ever-optimistic Warren (Joel Granger). We meet Deb (Nicola Bowman), a graduate who is feeling the standard Gen-Y dissatisfaction with life: wanting to achieve great things and reach that big picture but not quite knowing how. She loses her most precious possession – the notes to her graduate thesis, and this is the catalyst for a chain of events that turn the ordinary days of four New Yorkers into something extraordinary. Jason (Matthew Hamilton) moves in with his love Claire (Brittanie Shipway) and we see their excitement and tension build as a couple, as things from the past are revealed and their bond unravels. Through powerful songs and vignettes, these multiple stories become intricately connected and the audience becomes heavily invested.

The cast carries their individual stories and works together with accuracy and professionalism. Granger’s endearingly geeky portrayal of Warren is authentic and strong. Hamilton brings maturity to his role as Jason, however his accent and pitch took some time to settle and some movement felt forced, although once on the mark he was a treat. The female cast in their own respects stole the show for me though: Shipway’s singing and natural emotion, especially in “Gotta Get Out” were heart-melting highlights, and Bowman had the audience in stitches with her fantastic comic timing, smooth delivery and subtle yet hilarious physicality. Director Tyran Parke has done an outstanding job bringing such creative and dramatic gems out of these four talented people. Special commendation goes to musical director Stephanie Lewendon-Lowe as this show is basically entirely sung through; the storytelling and diction combined with great dynamic delivery of the songs was top-notch and she supported it all on piano the whole time. The lighting by Jason Crick bought life and drama to the relatively blank set, and whilst there were some minor sound issues on the night I attended, the technical team did a good job.

My favourite part was the end: there was some truly magical goosebump moments throughout, but the ending left me feeling beautifully warm (which was a relief considering the Melbourne temperature.) Whilst the storyline of Ordinary Days isn’t anything too groundbreaking, the music and characters pull us in and help us to see and appreciate the little things, which is so important, especially now.  Escape the cold and get swept up in finding the extraordinary in the ordinary.

Ordinary Days (part of double bill, Chump Days) at Chapel Off Chapel

8-18 June 
Time: 8pm Thursday-Saturday, 5pm Sunday
Tickets: $35 Preview (Thursday 8 June), $49 Adult, $39 Concession (+transaction fee)


Image by Ben Fon

REVIEW: Cheeky Theatre Company Presents ORDINARY DAYS

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.

Ordinary Days

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

Bookings: http://revoltproductions.com