Ordinary Days - originally developed by New York Theatre Barn in 2007 - is a delightfully charming story that centres around a small cast of just four, which can be at times, difficult to pull off by even the most experienced of companies. The Starbuck Theatre Company did not disappoint and once again proved that under Sarah Pavlovs' direction, the theatre company's aim of making small, new or not well known musical shows accessible to all has been taken to astounding new heights - yet again!
Taking place in 2011, the show introduces us to our four ingenious characters who are living, studying and working in New York City. Kicking off the show we meet Warren (played by Nathan Blyth), a cat-sitting artist who finds himself under the employment of a fellow New York artist who had been jailed for painting "pithy sayings" across the city! Blyth brought such a warm campness to the role that you couldn't help but love the sheer confidence Warren has of his determination to stay ambitious and upbeat in the face of rejection and his belief in looking at the Big Picture.
We are then introduced to Deb (Ashleigh Aston), a mesmerisingly witty and often distressed grad student. Her inability to choose the correct way to phrase things, allows for some moments of subtle comedy but no so useful when trying to come up with excuses for her Professor after she accidentally misplaces her notes for her thesis on Virginia Woolf. Aston's fabulous rendition of Dear Professor Thompson and Don't Wanna Be Here had the audience at the edge of their seats. The delivery of her performance both physically and vocally was outstanding and really did make Aston the star of the show.
Before we were treated to a gorgeously well choreographed quartet in the form of Saturday at the Met, we were also introduced to our remaining characters in the form of Claire (played by the talented Sarah Pavlovs) and Jason (Starbuck Theatre Company favourite Dean Bayliss) - who are embarking on the next chapter in their relationship by taking the plunge and moving in together. Little did we know that it was this would trigger the events that unfolded. The way that Bayliss portrayed the hopelessly romantic but constantly thwarted Jason shows us once again why he was asked to return to the company. His extraordinary depth of character and his ability to show even the most complex of emotions throughout his performance really heightened the production and our understanding of the character.
Undeniably, the most poignant and emotionally diverse of all the characters lay in that of Claire - a woman whose true feelings and motives aren't immediately apparent. Whether blind to the reality behind the wall she has put up between her and any potential to move forward with Jason, or simply too scared to accept her past - Pavlovs' experience within the industry shines through her flawless performance where she manages to balance the finer concepts of her character through to fruition in such a rare and tantalising way. With her stunning vocal range, Pavlovs encapsulated the spirit of Claire in both Gotta Get Out and I'll Be Here and complimented the ensemble as a whole.
Whilst lyrically this musical isn't necessarily the most immersive that Starbuck Theatre has produced, the dynamic, confident tones of it's performers' and the raw but effective staging decisions culminated in this little gem of a production.
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