Ordinary Days – Edinburgh Festival Fringe – C royale

Ordinary Days (Streetlights, People! Productions) continues at C royale until 28 August (not 15).

Star rating: five stars ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

In an unassuming basement space on George Street something special is happening. Ordinarily a chamber musical about four people in New York City would seem something apart, something distant. Ordinary Days makes the ordinary extraordinary in this tight, exquisite production.

The pace is perfect – trusting Adam Gwon’s score from the outset, the piece is played through with only significant numbers marked by a pause.

The apparent simplicity of the score delineates mood and tone perfectly and the talented cast follow the lead, creating almost magical moments.

Jen Coles’ direction is beautifully restrained, allowing character and relationships room to breathe and to tell the story with crystal clarity.

In lesser hands, these characters may have been less than truthful, but this cast is very strong indeed.

Neil Cameron’s Warren is something of a free spirit and comes to realise his good fortune as the story develops. His direct counterpart, Deb (Nora Perone), conveys the restlessness of pursuing an excellence that is defined by other people that is bordering on ‘too much’ until she learns to breathe.

Jason and Claire (Alistair Frederick and Kirby Hughes) are on the verge of living together. The see-saw of their relationship – both comedic and tragic – draws us in.

As we begin to understand who these four people are, the storytelling builds at just the right tempo and volume. Special mention to Kris Rawlinson for the sensitive musical direction.

Singing throughout is first class – clear, precise and a joy to the ears.  The arias Claire sings (‘Let Things Go’, ’I’ll be Here’) are stunning highlights.

The sold-out audience clearly appreciated this work. It brings hope and light and an appreciation for the ordinary things in everyday life.

The show is not new (2008), but new enough to make new fans in Edinburgh. Loved it!

Fiona Orr

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