Wilmas Rating [rating=4]

Ever since I saw the film Once, I have been trying to give the DVD away to anyone and everyone who visits my house. So far, no luck and it is still cluttering up my home (somewhere).
Obviously I wasn’t a fan and so I was not convinced that Once the musical would be much good either. But, as the show has done so well on Broadway, I went along to the West End opening to see what all the fuss was about.

The story is simple. An Irish man and a Czech woman, brought together in Dublin by their love for music. She convinces him that his songs are good and they set out to record them, falling in love along the way.

The staging is wonderful. All music is performed live on stage and has a real Irish folk feel to it that made me feel nostalgic and back to my Irish roots. The set changes are cleverly executed through dance and the cast stay on stage for the whole performance, playing their instruments at the side of the stage.

Clever use of mirrors allows you to see the audience and the reflections of everything that is happening on stage, giving it a very real and honest feeling.

Gareth O’Connor plays Eamon in the show. You may know him as Rory from the TV series Mrs Browns Boys but I only realised this when looking in the programme after. Keep your eyes open for him if you see the show, he is what i like to call a stud muffin and a wonderful performer too.

Stand out performances also came from Miria Parvin and Zrinka Cvitesic but everyone gave it their all.

Once is unlike anything we have in town right now, and whilst it isn’t a ‘typical’ musical, everyone on stage deserves credit for not only being wonderful actors, but musicians as well.

A beautiful love story like this deserves to be seen, but bring a box of tissues along with you and don’t forget to say hello to the piano when you see it!

Once plays at London’s Phoenix Theatre until November 30 2013. Click here for tickets.