Here’s a summary for Once: whiny ballads by people you can’t understand, with some awkward modern dance thrown in.
If you care to read on, here’s some more information that will hopefully persuade you to stay away from this overhyped musical with virtually no redeeming qualities making it worth the few uncomfortable hours.
Once is a tony award winning broadway musical. It’s supposed to be incredible. Everyone raves about it. But it makes no sense at all. This show is literally slow song after slow song with some dumb jokes thrown in between. For a show that is advertised as a serious, dramatic and tragic love story, there sure are a lot of stupid jokes. They’re not classy comedic relief either, they are made at the expense of people’s pride, of their heritage, of their woman-ness.
The cool part about Once is that everyone onstage also plays multiple musical instruments, sings, dances, acts, everything. It’s like a bunch of quadruple threats are thrown together and they work together seamlessly, but almost to the point where everyone is just a glorified pit/stage hand. John Tiffany, the director who brought it from screen to stage, really must have thought “Hm, how can I pay the least amount of people possible...I’ll combine the stagehands with actors with the pit! Perfect!” and while it provides a very cool effect seeing the musicians onstage, interacting with each other, it was so unclear when they switched from being a pit member to when they were a character, etc. There are so many vague moments where it makes absolutely no sense.
Once is not worth your time. It is slow going, there is just barely a plot, and it is incredibly quiet, which makes it so hard to understand the very little that is actually going on onstage. Not to mention the nearly indecipherable accents the actors speak in. Basterdized Irish and Czech that I’m sure they worked very hard on do not work or translate well to a bunch of Midwesterners. This show does not work touring from state to state, because if it did, they’d adapt it to fit the stage, to fit the audience. This does not, and it fails us in this way.
All in all, I absolutely do not recommend that you see once, and I will not be providing you with ticketing information because I feel so strongly that it will just ruin your night or afternoon. Goodbye.