Once – Theatre Royal Bath REVIEW
Based on the budget film, the musical Once picked up eight Tony awards during its run on Broadway in 2011. Now as it tours the UK, warming hearts and charming audiences, I can’t help but feel this show doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
Sure, those who have been have praised it but after seeing the show myself I can understand why I hadn’t heard of it before. Why has no one told me just how brilliant it is and how much I must see it?! I can’t quite work that out, so instead I am here to tell you just how beautiful a production this is.
Once is a love story musical, but not like I’ve ever seen before. Set in an intimate and lively bar in Dublin, Guy meets Girl (main characters remain nameless) and despite Girl being Czech and with a family and Guy being hung up on his New York based ex-girlfriend, sparks start to fly.
Music lies at the heart of this production with folk tunes starting way before curtain up so make sure you find your seat early. The large group of ridiculously talented actor-musicians fill the auditorium with upbeat, foot-stamping tunes creating euphoric moments as well as accompanying softer moments with gentle bars of backing and appropriate choreography.
Daniel Healy and Emma Lucia as the unconventional couple are endearing and compelling. Their chemistry is palpable and you seem to fall deeper into the world the more they converse. Emma’s character brings the humour and Daniel provides the hopeless romantic element.
Understated and subtle, the beauty of Once is in the relationships and how the story and characters are bound together by music. With little props, fancy set, or other distractions, the powerful story and gorgeous music are in charge, taking you on a journey you don’t want to end.