The Irish romantic movie Once (2007) spawned an award-winning theatrical musical with productions staged in many countries including America and the UK. The Darlinghurst Theatre Company production in Sydney was a critical and box office success when it played at the Eternity Playhouse in 2019 and now, that success should justifiably be replicated.
The simplistic story is set in Dublin, Ireland and surrounds a 30-something busker named Guy, an incredibly talented musician whose high hopes of making it in the music industry are stalled. By chance he meets ‘Girl’, a Czech immigrant who also has a passion for music. In five days, she rebuilds his love for the craft and his road to success has been pathed. It’s a therapeutic relationship for both of them, but will love inevitably flourish and possibly complicate their friendship?
Once is an incredibly mesmerising musical experience in which the music is equally as significant as the dialogue in the storytelling process. Dramatic and comedic elements are interwoven and the musical numbers alternate from electrifying to tender and poignant.
There are 12 performers on stage – 12 ‘X factors’ more aptly, who sing, dance, act and as an ensemble are also the orchestra playing instruments that include violins, the piano and guitars.
Mandatory to the success of this musical was the casting of the leads. Toby Francis and Stefanie Caccamo portray Guy and Girl respectively, their charisma complementing each others performance. Their singing is breathtaking and when the signature melody Slowly Falling is performed there won’t be a dry eye in the house.
The complexities of love and relationships are explored as is the healing power of music, but the resonating theme is how empty life would be without the inspiration to move forward and follow ones dreams.
This production of Once is faultless, remarkable and unmissable five-star entertainment suitable for the entire family and quintessentially highlights the joy that quality live theater evokes in audiences.