Once is based upon the 2007 film of the same name written by John Carney, and it has to be said it is slight little tale and benefits greatly from the magnificent songs by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová. Tale goes as such, Guy (Daniel Healy) discards his guitar and plans to do who knows what, Girl (Emma Lucia) stops him, gets him to fix her "hoofer" and rekindle a romance of old that inspired all his music. However, do the guy and girl fall for one another instead?
As leads, Daniel Healy and Emma Lucia have perfect chemistry together. You believe their burgeoning relationship, which doesn't feel forced at any time. Both Healy and Lucia have stunning singing voices and deliver the varied styles superbly, while their characters likewise have a likeable depth. I particularly liked Lucia in her straight-talking Czech jibes, its classily written by Enda Walsh, and delivered impeccably by Lucia.
The rest of the cast are of an equal standard and while it would be a delight to mention all, a full talent of 16 strong makes it a tough call. However to pick a few, Peter Peverley was quality in the background of many a scene, Samuel Martin a fabulous turn as the musically deficient Bank Manager, and no question Dan Bottomley as Billy stole every scene he was in. However, as I say, everyone is brilliant.
Bar a couple of lighting and microphone moments, it was also perfect in tech, with a delightful set from Libby Watson as well, with a nice little unexpected trick up its sleeve.
Once isn't really about the story, it's hardly there, but the strength of the characters and the simply incredible music makes this one of the best. I don't have any hesitation in recommending this fabulous show.
A stage musical that everyone with a heart should see at least Once.
Performance reviewed: Monday 17th February 2020 at Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes.
Once runs at Milton Keynes Theatre until Sunday 22nd February 2020.
Further details about Milton Keynes Theatre can be found at http://www.atgtickets.com/venues/milton-keynes-theatre/