Once the Musical began its journey Off Broadway, soon after that it moved to Broadway and then took a short trip to the city where it’s set and was showing in Dublin’s Gaiety Theatre for two months. It then finally came to London at the Phoenix Theatre where I first saw this beautiful show and fell in love. Safe to say when it closed earlier this year I was heartbroken, but shortly after it announced a triumphant return to Dublin; I knew I had to go!
I first saw Once in 2013 and since then saw it a few more times in its London home. Having wanted to visit Ireland for quite some time this was the perfect opportunity to finally visit and to see Once where it’s set, and I only wish I could’ve seen it again while I was there!
There are many, many, many things I love about this musical. First of all I’ll talk about the set, as it’s one of the immediate things you can experience with this show. When you go to see Once, you don’t just get to see the show but you can be part of it in a way, by visiting the onstage bar pre-show and in the interval! Enjoy a drink onstage and watch the cast perform their pre-show setlist to really get you excited for the beautiful show you’re about to see.
Now you get to witness the incredible talents any cast of Once include. With most shows you have a cast of actors, then an orchestra, and then automation to change the set. Casting directors for Once have their work cut out for them as they have to find incredibly talented actors who are also musicians and dancers to make their show work, and as well as that they change the sets too!
Before flying to Dublin I didn’t even know who was in the cast of Once at the Olympia Theatre apart from who was playing Guy and Girl; normally I’ll look casts up before I see a show but I had complete faith in whoever had been cast, with a show like this there’s no doubt they’ll all be brilliant. Thankfully, my thinking was 100% correct!
Now onto the show itself. Once is one show that makes me bawl my eyes out, and still be laughing between sobs. It’s full of heart and soul, the music (written by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová) is so beautiful it leaves the cast in pieces after every show, and the book (by Enda Walsh) translates the film perfectly to the stage. The musical follows Guy, a busker out of touch with his love for music stuck fixing hoovers in his father’s shop, as he meets Girl who very conveniently has a hoover that needs fixing and the week they spend together reconnecting with music.
I’ve blogged about this show before from one of the first times I saw it in London but it bears repeating how much I adore Once. It’s one of the shows I’d recommend to anyone to see as it resounded with almost everyone.
Tom Parsons and Megan Riordan played Guy and Girl exactly how I’d envisage the pair – the Girl being very cheeky but with a kind heart and the Guy being disheartened but going on a journey of his soul and passion being awakened. The ensemble of Once work together to craft the show from start to finish and I’ll always be in awe of their talents – it was delightful to see a couple of familiar faces from the previous London cast here in Dublin too.
The music in this show is genius, I fall more in love with it every time I listen to it and it certainly tugs at the heartstrings. The way it’s interwoven into the script and set changes is sublime – even those who aren’t massive musical theatre fans will find themselves enjoying this style of music.
Seeing Once is a truly unique experience, having seen it multiple times it’s a wonder to see how different audiences react to various moments in the show but all at the end are full of applause and love. I still think it’s such a shame Once no longer holds a home in London but I will keep faith that one day it will return, for now I’m just glad I was able to see this beautiful musical shine in Dublin!
Due to popular demand Once will play at the Olympia Theatre until September 12th 2015, link to tickets below!