Once… A treasured film brought to the West End

It’s always interesting to see a story you already love presented in a different way. I was thrilled when I was given tickets to see Once at The Phoenix Theatre in London’s West End for my birthday because I was already a huge fan of the film.

Declan Bennett and Zrinka Cvitešić as Guy and Girl respectively in Once the musical

Declan Bennett and Zrinka Cvitešić as Guy and Girl respectively in Once the musical

You see I watched the 2007, low-budget Irish movie on DVD until I feared the TV might explode. I cried at the on-screen music shop rendition of Falling Slowly while clutching a glass of wine when I was sad. I marvelled at how wonderful love can be as I watched Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova play out this subtle tale of devotion to the backdrop of some really incredible music. So, you can probably imagine that I was interested (if not a little worried) when I saw it was coming to the stage…

Well… I’m glad to say… it was wonderful.

Once the musical

Once the musical

Within about 15-minutes I was in tears, which has to be a record, even for me (I mean seriously, fifteen bloody minutes?!!). ***PACK TISSUES GUYS***.

To hear Falling Slowly live was something else. The singing and musicianship was in my opinion as stunning as it is in the movie itself.

The set was simple but hugely effective, in fact one of the most unusual things about this show was that we walked in to find the cast casually playing music on stage and ‘hanging out’ before that seamlessly turned into the start of the show itself. It made a nice change to eating all the Maltesers too early out of boredom.

The plot had been given just the right amount of that West End treatment without in any way harming the gentle nature of this delicate love story between Guy and Girl in Dublin.

Declan Bennett’s voice was perfect. Phoebe Fildes’ vocals were gorgeous. The chemistry between them was a joy to watch, just as it was with Glen and Marketa. The smaller characters too shone brightly, and were all memorable and entertaining. It’s a very good sign when a couple of weeks after seeing a show you can still picture all the characters and remember their voices.


Once the musical was everything I hoped it would be and more. For those who love the film’s music, just being there and hearing those precious songs come to life with guitars, violins, cellos, drums, a piano and goodness knows how many other instruments really is worth it, and that’s before you even get to the great performance of this stunning love story.

Go and see it, you won’t regret it (but watch the film too if you haven’t already)!


2 thoughts on “Once… A treasured film brought to the West End

  1. I read anything related to Glen Hansard which is how I found this post. I have not had the pleasure of seeing the play and tis unlikely it will ever happen. I enjoyed your review. I wish to make a personal comment, your picture shows you to be quite lovely. Am just an old lady sitting at my computer here in Texas. Am thinking your Ma must be proud of you.

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