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No Ordinary Show: UON Musos’ Latest Musical

UON Musos’ latest musical production, Ordinary Days is coming to Newcastle Conservatorium this weekend! Peter Hyslop reviews the performance, and speaks to the cast about how it may just spark the revival of community on campus.

UON Musos’ Ordinary Days is the next big musical to hit the Conservatorium in Newcastle this weekend, and it’s not too late to get in on the fun. The show is about four people discovering the challenges, ups and downs of New York life. While that sounds cliché, the musical defies convention at every second turn.

It’s about “the beauty and complexity of everyday life,” according to the synopsis – and I can’t put that much better.

Two stories, one of lovers experiencing the challenges of moving in together, and the other, a college student losing her precious thesis-containing book, join together beautifully.

But we won’t spoil that.

Sophie Gray and Dean Sellem rehearsing Ordinary Days

Sophie Gray and Dean Sellem rehearsing Ordinary Days

The actors are talented and have a diverse set of skills. The scriptwriting is compelling and feels like an opera written by millennials. But most importantly, it’s an entertaining show run by students, for students. Who wouldn’t want to get behind that?

Musical director Tayla Dures says she’s wanted to put on this show for a very long time, citing its relatable stories.

“The first time I heard Ordinary Days was at School Spectacular, they performed I’ll Be Here, which is one of the songs later in the musical. And I literally fell in love with it … I was 13 years old. I’m 21 now,” she said.

“It’s one musical but there are two completely different stories, and so you’re in it for the emotional side with Claire and Jason, and then Deb and Warren are your comedic relief, but then you’re also kind of like … that’s so accurate,”

Sophie Gray and Zak Levy

Sophie Gray and Zak Levy

The organisers want students to get behind the show, and not just because it’s brilliantly written and hilariously executed, but they want to get community on campus back up and running.

Zak Levy, playing sentimental romantic Jason, says there are remedies to the loneliness of university life.

“The amount of people I see on university pages saying I have no friends, I’ve been here for three years, what the hell’s going on, can I just please talk to anyone?

“I made one friend in my first semester and a half of university and then I started doing Twisted which was 12 months ago and I had 50 friends,” he said.

Harry Auld, playing comedic art fanatic Warren agreed, telling Yak there’s more to uni than just coming to class.

“It definitely shows people that there is more to this place than just a building that you come to study. You’re allowed to live your life here. So, like, these clubs highlight the fact that you can actually enjoy yourself,” he said.

Sophie Gray and Zak Levy

Sophie Gray and Zak Levy

Auld said UON Musos has brought him opportunities to rediscover his love for musical theatre.

“I re-found my voice after years of not thinking I could actually sing or do things in theatre,” he said.

“Going from night shift in town at the QT Hotel to then staying up during the day to come to rehearsals, booking singing lessons, and then [I get] a call back for another show … you find where you stand, you find your ground, all of a sudden, gives you the step to go elsewhere,” he said.

Harry Auld and Tayla Dures

Harry Auld and Tayla Dures

Sophie Gray, playing Jason’s traumatised girlfriend Claire, says the show is an opportunity to escape from life’s worries.

“For people to come to this show instead of staying at home, they’re getting to experience life on a broader scale, have some time away from whatever’s worrying them and get to focus on whatever’s happening on stage, whether that be funny or serious,” she said.

Pianist virtuoso and music director Dean Sellem told Yak it’s important to support the life of clubs.

“The club allows people outside of the degrees to meet other people. You get stuck in the bubble of your own degree if you don’t join clubs,” he said.

Harry Auld and Tayla Dures

Harry Auld and Tayla Dures

Ordinary Days is hilarious, relatable, and moving. The actors all agreed on how much they saw themselves in their own characters.

But what inspired me was their willingness to take a gamble to support the lives of students in our socially isolated generation. Good on them, I say, for a bit of old-fashioned entertainment.

Readers of Yak can use the discount code Musos20 to purchase tickets. 

Feature Image by Peter Hyslop, Yak Writer

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