“Once” The Musical (For Folks That Don’t Like Musicals)

Author: Charlotte O'Shea

I had read many excellent reviews of “Once” the musical last year, not to mention the fact the Phoenix Theatre production had won 8 Tony awards in 2012.

For those of you that have never heard of Once, it was originally a 2007 small budget film directed by John Carney that gathered significant critical acclaim and went on to win the Independent Spirit Award for Best Foreign Film.

The story is centred around an Irish Busker and a Czech girl who meet through a shared love of music and is for the most part, set in a Dublin pub. It’s essentially a tale of love, life and everything, I could go on and share with you all of the plot detail but I want you to go and see it without basically giving the whole thing away.

I hadn’t seen the film before the theatre production so I can’t do any comparisons in terms of which was better or whether it was a favourable adaptation or not. What I can tell you is that I LOVED it, and so did my husband, which is where the title of this feature comes from, he’s really not a fan of musicals. His idea of hell would be to sit through an entire episode of Glee. Or perhaps the latest Mama Mia movie.

The cast of Once were amazing, the score was brilliant and you got completely absorbed by the whole thing. I believed every single moment, if that makes sense.

If I’m honest I’m not a huge advocate of musicals in general either which is odd considering I spent the majority of my youth, teenage years and even early twenties dedicated to dance and summers were spent at a theatre school where the finale we performed in was a……musical.

Perhaps I have just experienced particularly poor productions so it’s skewed my judgement, that whole cheesy “stage school” type acting and performance style makes me cringe. Once really changed my mind, we’ve told all of our friends to go see it, James even said he would go again….and if that isn’t praise then I don’t know what is. Well actually that’s a fib, I do – Once has gone on to win not one but two 2014 Olivier Awards, “Outstanding Achievement in Music” and Best Actress and has also been awarded a Grammy for “Best Musical Theatre Album”. I know, fancy schmancy.

Have you seen Once? are there any other productions you would recommend we might enjoy? I REALLY want to see “The Commitments” as I adored the original film but am yet to meet anyone that’s been.

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8 thoughts on ““Once” The Musical (For Folks That Don’t Like Musicals)

  1. My husband hates musicals (although he’s never been to one…) so my ambition is to take him to one – I love them. Knowing all the words to Phantom and Les Mis…..

  2. I LOVE Once too, I have been recommending it to anyone who will listen! Love the music, the Irishness, how ‘real’ it feels. I actually sobbed at it, and yet I can’t quite put my finger on why. I watched the film afterwards and oddly I found it quite dull, it just didn’t have the magic for me.

    I have seen a number of musicals (Lion King four times, anyone?) and my favourite was quite unexpected. I wasn’t fussed about seeing Phantom (opera music isn’t for me) but I took my mum for her birthday a few years ago and it was just incredible. Blood Brothers was a good one too xx

    1. I’ve heard good things about Blood Brothers Siobhan! I’m the same with Phantom, I feel I SHOULD see it but have just never had enough motivation at any given moment, perhaps I need to give myself a kick up the bum!

      Friends of ours saw Lion King recently and said it was spectacular, I’m just not sure I could convince James!

  3. So technically a musical but in the most hilarious and sweary and offensive way possible, Book of Mormon is well worth it if you can get tickets. Both hubby and I loved it, I laughed so much I actually couldn’t breathe at one point.

    1. Lynne I have never heard of this?! this is why RMS and feedback is so ace, thanks so much for the tip – will definitely investigate x

  4. Ooh Charlotte – I went to see the Commitments a couple of weeks ago and loved it. The music is awesome and it’s almost like seeing them in a live gig. They were doing half price ticket deals not so long ago too – look out for those if you do decide to go! My husband is not a fan of musicals either but he loves the Commitments – this was perfect for both of us. Once is next on my list to see!

  5. I’m so pleased to read this, I’m taking the anti-musical husband to see Once tomorrow night and this confirms why! Save the Lion King until the beautiful Mabel is old enough to enjoy with you xxx

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