Posts with the label once the musical
Showing posts with label once the musical. Show all posts
Showing posts with label once the musical. Show all posts

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Five Reasons To See Once the Musical

A beautiful, heartfelt story of an unlikely friendship between a Dublin busker and a Czech musician,  we present five reasons why you should see Once on it's current UK tour...

The Pre-Show
Before the show even begins, Once offers a unique experience and welcoming atmosphere as the audience enter the theatre. The fantastic cast made up of actor-musos (more on that later) are performing a number of joyous Irish songs as if in a local Dublin pub. I particularly enjoy The Auld Triangle which Susannah van den Berg leads wonderfully. Also worth mentioning is the seamless transition from the lively pre-show tunes, to the haunting opener Leave, which settles the audience and paves the way for the journey of Once.

It's Surprisingly Funny
When I first saw this show, I didn't expect to laugh as much as I did. From the start there is a warm humour that feels (mostly) natural and realistic. Little giggles between the cast as they bounce off one another are enjoyable to watch, as are the jokes between Guy and Girl. From their first interaction, the pair (Daniel Healy and Emma Lucia) have an engaging relationship full of banter, sarcasm and honesty that's endearing to watch and brings light to the sometimes deep emotional moments.

Emma Lucia's Accent
Yes, this is an unconventional reason to see a show, but I was so impressed by Emma Lucia's excellent accent that I had to mention it! The combination of Czech with twangs of Dublin mixed in is so excellent. Emma is a magnetic performer, who we instantly warm to. The character of Girl is so optimistic that you can't help but root for her, and Emma brings this gleeful optimism to life fantastically.

The Power of Ensemble
Once is one of the most wonderfully ensemble fuelled pieces I've ever seen. Often the cast move like one entity, all invested in each others stories. These group transitions bring a motion to moments which could otherwise run the risk of falling flat. The reprise of Gold is a truly exceptional moment in musical theatre, as the entire cast come together as if using one breath to sing.

The Musicality
Of course you can't talk about Once without mentioning the music and those that perform it. The folk/rock score is what put the original film firmly on the map, with Falling Slowly becoming a staple on any musical theatre playlist. Not only is Once a love story in terms of romance, but it's also a love letter to music, with every song carefully thought out and performed. It's amazing to hear the folky, Irish, guitar led music, and it's even more impressive to watch it performed live by a cast of actor-musicians. Every cast member is an incredibly talented musician and it's sensational how they are able to tell a story and really engage the audience through music.

Once is currently playing at the New Victoria Theatre until 15 February and then continues its tour

Five Reasons To See Once the Musical

Tuesday, 11 February 2020

Monday, 10 February 2020

Emma Lucia talks life on tour in Once The Musical | Interview

Beginning life as a low budget feature film, Once, the story of a Dublin street busker and a Czech musician who bond over their love of music, has enthralled audiences since it was released. Audiences are now getting the chance to see it live on a UK tour.

Emma Lucia plays Girl, in this simplistically beautiful production. We chatted to her about her role, life as an actor-muso, her tour essentials and much more...

Give us the lowdown on Once, what can audiences expect? 
Once is such a tricky show to explain because it’s really unique, but it’s essentially a play about an Irish guy and a Czech girl who meet in Dublin and form a really special friendship based on their love for music. The show is packed with Irish/folk music and each song is played by the 16 actors on stage - there are about 30 instruments in total so the sound is really something! Anyone watching the show for the first time can expect to laugh (a lot), cry (a bit) and leave feeling really uplifted.

You play Girl, what’s she like as a character? Are you alike in any ways?
Girl is SUCH a fun character to play. She’s ridiculously optimistic, hilariously blunt and incredibly kind which is quite inspiring because they’re all qualities that I love in a person. I think I’m quite a positive person (or at least I try to be… I sometimes struggle on Mondays…) so I guess we have that in common!

The cast is made up of amazing actor-muso’s, what’s it like being surrounded by music all the time both on and offstage?
Oh it’s amazing - these guys are sooo talented! It’s so inspiring to share a stage with such incredible musicians and they’re all so lovely which makes it even better. Everyone’s constantly practising or working on new material for the pre-show jam - there is literally no peace and quiet but I love it!

If your life was going to be made into a folk musical, who would you want to play you?
I love this question. Mmm probably Jessie Buckley because she has the most beautiful voice and she seems like an equally beautiful person! And she has fabulous hair. I’m aiming high here.

This is an ensemble led piece, with every cast member invested in every moment. What was the rehearsal process like to create such a tight-knit group?
We actually gelled really quickly in rehearsals. A lot of people had worked together before so most people already knew each other, and I remember sitting on our lunch break on day one and thinking that we’re going to have a lot of fun on this tour. I also think it helps that it’s such an ensemble-led piece because it means there’s a constant feeling of it being a team effort - no one actor is more important than another and that keeps us all really grounded and connected.

What's your favourite moment in the show?
It has to be When Your Mind’s Made Up in Act 2. It’s my favourite song in the whole show and it’s so fun to play! I really struggle to describe why I love it so much but there’s a point where the lyrics stop and the whole cast just hold their notes, and I remember hearing that moment for the first time when I watched the show in the West End and understanding exactly what they were all feeling - even though they weren’t actually saying any words. It’s bizarre how music can make you feel connected in a way that words sometimes can’t.

What are your tour essentials?
Hmmm… I have a sleep mask which is an absolute life-saver - it means I can nap just about anywhere! I also like to have lots of pictures/positive quotes to put up in my dressing room and an unlimited supply of rescue remedy for when I feel particularly nervous. Oh and berocca. Lots of berocca.

Other than the beautiful music, what do you think makes Once such a special and enduring piece of theatre? 
I think it’s because it’s such a simple and realistic story - the characters (aptly named Guy and Girl) could literally be anyone. Falling in love is wonderful but it doesn’t always work out the way you want it to - life sometimes gets in the way and I think a lot of people can relate to this. Once isn’t hugely romanticised and I think that’s what people love about it. 

What’s your top piece of advice for aspiring performers? 
Without a doubt: have confidence in yourself. There’s so much criticism and rejection in this industry - it’s all part of the job, so you have to make sure that you believe in yourself otherwise you’ll never be able to enjoy it! Even if you have to fake it for a while, it’s so important that you compliment and congratulate yourself for achieving the tiniest of goals or even just for being brave enough to have a go! I think most actors go through phases of having imposter syndrome, where they don’t think they’re “good enough”, and I really struggle to take my own advice sometimes… but it really is the most powerful thing - if you believe in yourself, nine times out of ten so will everybody else.

Once next plays at the New Victoria Theatre and then continues it's UK tour

Interview by Editor, Olivia Mitchell

Emma Lucia talks life on tour in Once The Musical | Interview

Monday, 10 February 2020

Friday, 10 January 2020

Once (UK Tour), Fairfield Halls | Review

Once (UK Tour)
Fairfield Halls
Reviewed on Thursday 9th January 2020 by Olivia Mitchell 

Embarking on a UK tour, Once tells the story of Girl meeting Guy. He, is a Dublin busker on the brink of walking away from music after having his heart broken and feeling unheard in a bustling world; whilst, she is a force for change who exudes positivity from the moment their worlds collide. In the space of a few days, their lives become beautifully connected and changed forever. The musical is an evocative piece, which slowly creeps up on you to warm, break and soothe your heart in equal measures. It's a love letter to music and identity that deserves to be seen and heard.

Emma Lucia is a certified star as Girl, as she gives an assured performance, filled with warmth, vulnerability, encouragement and love. Girl is married to an unseen man who walked out on her, and has a daughter who has her heart. Lucia's incredibly truthful performance is outstanding from start to finish, as are her vocals which ring out with a clarity and strength that utterly absorbs the audience. Alongside her, Daniel Healy is perfect as Guy. His angst fuelled performance of Leave opens the show with the grit, intensity and honesty which courses through it until the end. Healy's musical performances are highly impressive as he shows exceptional vocal control.

The music is just beautiful, with so many breathtaking moments. Much of Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová's music does not in fact move the plot along, but each piece perfectly evokes the feelings and emotions of the Dublin setting and the characters living there. The musical synchronicity between the entire cast is second to none, with every member completely connecting to one another as they tell a story about music and humanity. The exceptional ensemble work is showcased throughout, but is especially striking during the reprisal of Gold, where every breath, pause and inflection feels as though they're coming from a single body as opposed to a group of individuals. This is just one of many magical moments which make this musical so special and affecting.

Libby Watson
's set almost looks like a painting when we first see it. Staying as a pub throughout, small items are brought on to signal when the action changes location. A tool desk for the hoover shop, a microphone for the recording studio and a bed for the bedroom are just some of these details. The whole thing feels cosy, like a tale that's been handed down through generations is being told over a drink- a real hug of a show. It's really incredible how Peter Rowe has directed a production that feels so intimate despite the size of the theatre it's housed in.

Amongst the vast deep moments of the plot, there are also some extremely humourous aspects which evoke the highs and lows of everyday life excellently. Girl and Guy's friends scatter the story with moments of reality. There's Reza, confidently played by Ellen Chivers: trouser ripping Svec, (Lloyd Gorman) who is hilarious; Andrej who is the embodiment of optimism accompanied by the divine voice of James William-Pattison; and Dan Bottomley as the music shop owner who longs to feel needed. The supporting characters bring some of the most profound moments through their reactions to Guy and Girl's music. Both the bank manager (Samuel Martin) and recording engineer Eamon (Matthew Burns) start out nonchalant but are so transformed by what they hear that they completely change their views and become wholly invested. The power of music is obviously evident in every fibre of Once and it's joyous to see.

The audience can't hep but be attentive throughout as Once has the magical ability to completely wrap them up and take them on a journey that is pure and delicate. Of course this a show about music, but what's even more magical is how spectacularly the entire team make the most out of silence. Each pause feels completely natural but intentional at once as an atmosphere like no other is formed. This is a complete delight of a musical that must be experienced. It's not jazz hands and drama, but instead, is melancholic, unashamedly romantic and wholeheartedly wonderful.

Details about the Once Tour can be found here

photo credit: Mark Senior

Once (UK Tour), Fairfield Halls | Review

Friday, 10 January 2020