Ordinary Days presented by Bohemian Theatre Ensemble at Heartland Studios. Music and Lyrics by Adam Gwon. Directed by Jason A. Fleece. Runtime 80 minutes with no intermission.
In a bustling metropolis people come and go at a rapid pace without thinking twice about the people they might be interacting with. Boho Theatre opened their 10th season with Ordinary Days, Adam Gwon’s small story driven song cycle encouraging us to look deeper into our everyday adventures.
There is a lovely juxtaposition of building the largest American city in a venue that seats 36 and Patrick Ham’s walls of doorways and windows gives us a great sense of the multiple pathways we take in life. This is heavily supplemented by the gorgeous projection design by Anthony Churchill which moves the locations at a rapid pace.
Leading the small cast of 4 is the vibrant Hannah Dawe as Deb, a neurotic grad student stuck in a rut. Miss Dawe’s quirkiness shines through in her rendition of “Calm” and is a welcome burst of energy every time she enters the stage.
Nick Graffagna stumbles in to Deb’s life as Warren, a homosexual hipster whose cat sitting for an artist currently sitting in prison. Mr. Graffagna rides a fine line between overzealous and annoying but has a pleasant tenor voice. As the show develops he serves as a strong foil opposite Deb’s grounded craziness and thus his best moments are those shared with Miss Dawe.
Courtney Jones plays Claire, a girlfriend uncertain about taking the next step in her relationship as her boyfriend Jason (Demetruis Spidle) moves in. There is an honesty to Ms. Jones that the audience greatly sympathizes with and the night I attended there was not a dry eye in the house following Ms. Jones rendition of “I’ll Be Here” (made famous by Audra McDonald). She gives the most layered performance of the evening.
Unfortunately, Ms. Jones is not matched by her counter-part Demetrious Spidle as her boyfriend Jason. In a cast so small, one weak link can bring an entire production down and Mr. Spidle struggled with pitch problems for a majority of the evening.
For a show about connections, the material feels isolated filled with multiple songs where the characters address the audience about their feelings. Director Jason A. Fleece does his best to bring cohesion to the minimal storyline and does so with the younger duo by show’s end. However, the 4 characters seem too into themselves to acknowledge the beauty the piece preaches us to look for. This is a fault in the composer whose lyrics far surpass the melodies (or lack thereof) and the cast at times rise above the material.
Boho’s latest theatrical offering introduces a new voice of musical theatre that will be fresh to audiences. But as the title’s namesake goes, the production does not rise above it.
Reviewed by Drew Shanahan
Ordinary Days runs through March 15th. Performances are Thursdays-Saturdays at 8pm & Sundays at 2pm. www.BoHoTheatre.com