Saturday, 24 August 2013

'Once' Phoenix Theatre *****

The musical adaptation of the 2006 film has only been on the West End stage just this year but I must admit it is a triumphant production indeed. The musical is about and Irish man desperate to succeed in the music business, who at the moment works for his father fixing vacuum cleaners stumbles upon a Czech girl and this certain girls changes his life forever in a matter of days. Written superbly by Irish playwright Enda Walsh, he creates a heartfelt journey which would even make the grown man cry and most certainly engages with a wide range of audiences due to the themes exuding through Walsh's amazing dialogue. The performances by David Hunter as Guy and Phoebe Fildes as Girl were exceptional as they delivered a moving but amusing relationship which all couple should identify and engage with. In addition the rest of the company also acting as musicians captured the essence of community. This nearly moved me to tears as it was incredibly heart wrenching. The music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová were beautifully crafted as the production itself is a whirlwind of emotional content and enables the singing to really come alive. I thought that the execution of the orchestrations and music supervision by Martin Lowe were extraordinary and working with the company instead of an orchestra was very intriguing to witness and the company played the instruments with such panache. A great directorial decision by the director John Tiffany. As well as, Tiffany has directed a musical production with a definitive vision of rare heartfelt emotion with a high community spirit. The scenic and costume design by Bob Crowley is outstanding as he has crafted a traditional Irish pub on the stage which can be quickly transformed in a matter of seconds with the brilliance of Natasha Katz's lighting. The production is definitely brilliant an if you want another musical like 'Les Misérables' to have a good cry to then 'Once' is the show for you and an experience I enjoyed immensely.

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