Review: Once – New Wolsey Theatre

Basically this is a story of boy meets girl and they both fall in love, but each has commitments, or so they think, elsewhere, so maybe it’s a case of another time and another place who knows what could have been.

And basically that is the production, it’s a simple tale and never really gets expanded upon more than that, that’s not to say it’s a worthless production. The twelve-strong cast of actor-singer-musicians are faultless and full of energy and are in full-swing as the audience enter the auditorium.

The set is a brilliant recreation of a Dublin bar and this also serves as the setting for the complete play with other locations created by the addition of just a few props.

We enter into a full on gig with a multitude of players and singers taking us into the bar and getting us in the swing for what is to become a musical concert with a love story running through it.

Emma Lucia is “Girl” and Daniel Healy is “Guy” (we never do learn the pairs real names). Lucia portrays Girl delightfully, with her blunt, honest Czech outlook on life you are instantly drawn to her. Healy as Guy is initially apprehensive about this forthright foreigner but slowly softens to her as he realises that they both have a love of music and she genuinely thinks he has what it takes to make it big, and sets about getting him into a recording studio.

There are a variety of other characters, including Girl’s extended family and friends and a comedic Irish ex-Rocker/Music Shop owner Billy, played by Sean Kingsley (perhaps a little too comedic for the production I’m afraid, but fun all the same).

The cast are excellent musicians and there are some stand-out numbers, in addition to the award-winning Falling Slowly, there is an excellent and spine-chilling cappella version of Gold and Czech Ej Pada Pada Rosicka a real fun number.

“Once” started out as a low-budget movie, starring Glen Hansard and Marḱ́eta Irglová, in fact the pair not only starred in the movie but also wrote the songs for the movie as well as the additional numbers for the musical. Much like their characters the real Irish and Czech musicians almost followed the storyline as they too fell in love (for a while) during the filming.

“Once” is an excellent evening of entertainment, a story that won’t tax your brain, but it’s more about the music, excellently preformed, the only thing that’s missing is a glass of the “black stuff”, but wait the New Wolsey bar even has that available!

Runs at New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich until 22nd September and then on regional tour
Buy Tickets HERE»
OR CALL 01473 295900

Review: Mark Keable, Ipswich24
Photos: Mike Kwasniak