Two strangers in Dublin, Ireland meet by chance on the street, where they realize they are both talented musicians and end up falling in love with each other. Based on the hit 2007 film of the same name, ‘Once‘ is a raw and emotional tale of music, love, and heartbreak that won many awards more than a decade ago. After the film’s success, a stage version was made and hit Broadway by storm, also earning numerous achievements. Now, the play is touring North America and has stopped in Dallas, TX at the gorgeous Winspear Opera House for the Thanksgiving holiday, and what better way to celebrate than to visit the pub and listen to some fantastic Irish folk music with ‘Once‘ live on stage.
If you’re unfamiliar with the story or the film, ‘Once‘ starts with a young man referred to as guy, who works with his dad repairing vacuum cleaners, but also performs songs on the street with his guitar. Little does anyone know how brilliant he is as a singer/songwriter until a young woman dubbed as girl crosses paths with him and instantly loves his music. The two more or less hit it off as they begin to work on some music together while growing close together. The two learn of each other’s past and why it is they write the songs they do, which are on the melancholy side. As the show goes on, it’s obvious guy and girl should live happily ever after, but it might not be the way they intended or how we the audience so desperately want.
The stage version stays close to its roots in the film and never strays too far from the original story. The set design is very simplistic with only a dark wooded pub as the background with a full-service bar. The chorus and orchestra are the bar patrons and employees who play music as well as dance and act their way through the story and sit on the sides when not being used. The spotlight though is on the lovable duo as they sing their way through their heavy emotions for one another, including the hit song “Falling Slowly” and the comical country-themed tune “Broken Hearted Hoover Fixer Sucker Guy”.
The songs are of course fantastic as they come from the original duo from the film, who was part of the band The Frames. If you’re not into Irish folk songs, this might not be your cup of tea, but I stress that you give it a try, because it really is a wonderful story. This US tour has solid performances and musicians that you can laugh and sing with, always hitting the right notes. And don’t forget to arrive early to the pay, because the pub/bar on stage acts as a real bar where you can purchase a beer and take pictures.
Written by: Bryan Kluger