Ordinary Days

Aug 17 2023 | By More

★★★☆☆     Big music

Hill Street Theatre (Venue 41): Mon 14 – Fri 18 Aug Aug 2023
Review by Hugh Simpson

Edinburgh Little Theatre’s Ordinary Days at Hill Street is a well performed and tuneful production.

Adam Gwon’s chamber musical is almost entirely sung-through, and features the lives of four New Yorkers. Warren (Cameron Watson) is an aspiring artist and Deb (Georgina Shaw) a cynical postgraduate, while Claire (Catriona Lamb) and Jason (Sam Stuart Fraser) are a couple whose relationship is hitting a serious bump in the road.

Cameron Watson, Sam Stuart Fraser, Catriona Lamb and Georgina Shaw in Ordinary Days.

The work was first performed in 2008, but aside from a couple of mentions of email (and one historical reference) could been written much earlier, with a definite 1990s feel to its pleasantly jazzy, driving, none-more-musical-theatre piano backing.

Performed here with spirit and confidence, the songs (with track arrangements by Shaw) have an up-tempo magnetism to them.

Lamb directs with a fluidity and a clear sense of purpose. All four performers have a commendable dedication to telling the story through the songs, which is particularly vital in a sung-through piece. If there is a criticism, it would be that there is not as much need in such a small space at the top of Hill Street Theatre for the Big Voice to come out as often as it does – the ramping up the volume and intensity often comes too suddenly.


The piece may be about how closed off people are, limiting their opportunities for connection or appreciating the beauty all around them, but too often the cast are singing at each other rather than with each other. The (few) moments where the melancholy of the characters is matched by similarly reflective music work the best.

Catriona Lamb, Sam Stuart Fraser in Ordinary Days

Watson has a geeky bashfulness as Warren that is highly successful, while Shaw’s spikiness and Lamb’s fear are well portrayed. Fraser’s uptight would-be romantic is also well drawn, although the range of the part does not always seem to sit ideally for him.

There is a likeable feel to the whole thing, although the characters will come across either as a group of believable people with recognisable problems, or a collection of hateful narcissists, depending on your point of view.

relentlessly uptempo

This reinforces the reason why it is not easy to recommend this production unreservedly. It is a small-scale production that undoubtedly succeeds on its own terms; things like this are the backbone of the Fringe.

However, the relentlessly uptempo score, and the banality of some of the words, mean it is not for everyone. When people say they don’t like musicals, this is probably exactly the sort of thing they’re thinking of. For those of us who do appreciate the form, this provides exactly what you would want.

Running time: One hour and 15 minutes (no interval)
Hill Street Theatre (Alba Theatre), 19 Hill St, EH2 3JP (Venue 41)
Monday 14 – Friday 18 August 2023
Daily at 10.00 am
Tickets and details Book here.

Edinburgh Little Theatre links

Company website: https://edinburghlittletheatre.com

Instagram: @edinburghlittletheatre

Facebook: @Edinburghlittletheatre

Twitter: @edlittletheatre

Georgina Shaw and Cameron Watson in Ordinary Days



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