While most people strive to be extraordinary, Theodora Sprout just wants to be ordinary. Her hippie-like father Jasper encourages Theo to ‘explore herself’; be free, never settle, and travel to see the world, but Theo just wants to be an accountant and to live a decent and dignified life. Her mother Barbara on the other hand is trying to juggle her maternal side as well as support her husband’s yearning for ‘more’ (and his random trips to Bengal). All the while, Theo’s boyfriend Wallace is trying to start a political revolution, with his two sidekicks Figsby and Sasha and their whole 7 followers.
As the story progresses, it’s easy to see this correlation between the characters and our own self-ego. Jasper continues to search for ‘more’ as he feels destined for greatness, something that his family cannot provide him. Always looking to his past and to a time when he was a successful rock god, his life feels ‘ordinary’ now. From following one spiritual conquest to the next, nothing is fulfilling his creative desires, or feeding his ego. He wants approval and self-satisfaction, but don’t we all? It’s something we are undoubtedly left to ponder throughout Out of the Ordinary.
We all to some degree like to think of ourselves as special or different – to be ‘admired’ by family, friends or total strangers, heightened by this need to ‘amplify our experiences’ i.e. Facebook and selfies. The idea of extraordinary has been fabricated, defined by what we aspire to be, how much money we have or what exotic places we visit. But what about the little things that make us all a little different? Our own quirks, personal attributes and the people who accept us just the way we are? Theo puts this into perspective for us; to see the simple things as grandiose, rather than the egotistical values we place upon ourselves ‘to see the extraordinary in the ordinary, the different in the normal the beautiful in the everyday, the art in maths and the aesthetic in gingham’.
Chad Mombardo is a self-made guru attempting to open people’s eyes and hearts to their greater calling. However, he is also a symbol of our fueling inner-narcissist that constantly wants more – the voice in our head that says we’re not good enough and that thirst to consume, consume, consume. We’re so infatuated with what legacy we leave behind, that we forget to enjoy the present moment.
In a fun and energetic interpretation of our own modern world, director Joh Hartog and playwright Alex Vickery-Howe transform a simple context into an ‘out of the ordinary’ interpretation.Versatile set and costume design by Kirsty Martinsen and Casey van Sebilleallows allows the actors to use the space in many ways without having to move objects around, but instead change the use of the stage elements according to scene transitions. Props constructed from cardboard also enhance this out of the ordinary experience, giving the play a quirky edge. Lighting, sound and smoke effects by Stephen Dean transport us along different moments of the characters’ lives, including Theo’s parents’ first encounter at a psychedelic rock concert.
Overall, the actors were strong and dominant, stealing the show in each of their scenes. Brendan Cooney as Jasper and Josephine Pugh as Barbara were responsible for a majority of the laughs, almost resembling our own endearing parents in many (out of the ordinary) ways. Theo played by Steph Clapp manages to hold our attention with an evident stage presence from beginning to end, bringing us down to earth a little as we question our own self-ego and life priorities. Wallace played by Robbie Greenwell certainly knows how to pull-off a comical character, undoubtedly adding to the giggles growing in the small quaint space of the Bakehouse Theatre. Maya Aleksanda as Anisedora impresses us with her vocals and emotive transitions whilst Alec S. Hall as Chad Mombardo plays the ideal egomaniac – think self-professed salesmen and Mikayla Lynch and Nomakhosi Mpala possess an unrivaled feistyness that makes them shine on stage.
Once again, the Bakehouse Theatre have brought us a production they should be proud of, ending on a happy and fun note – just the way we like it.