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Why you should go and watch Once the Musical this instant


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This week, as everyone who's Great-Great-Great Gran has the slightest drop of Irish blood knows, St Patrick's Day's raucous arrival is imminent.

Once The Musical

'What to do to celebrate?' I hear you cry. Down pint after pint of Guinness until you lose all your mates, acquire various novelty hats throughout the night and eventually wake up in a pile of your own sick and regret? Take part in a spontaneous Riverdance competition despite having little to no prior experience and most likely end up in A&E? Get thoroughly Leprechauned? 

The answer is, of course, absolutely.

But not until you've bought yourself a ticket to go and see Once the Musical at the Phoenix Theatre in London's West End first.

The musical is running until 21st March only, so time is limited, but that should be all the motivation anyone needs to get your mitts on a ticket as soon as humanly possible. Do it this instant. You will not regret it. And even if you do, it won't be nearly as much as your unadulterated shame following your drunken antics later in the evening. 

Here are just a few reasons why you need to get yourselves down to London immediately. 

The musical originates from an Oscar winning source

The surprise indie hit of 2007, the film from which the stage musical originates was made for less than £100,000, starred two little known musicians in the form of Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, and was shot in just 17 days.

Nevertheless it went on to earn over 20 million at the box office worldwide, with Steven Spielberg himself stating that the film "gave [him] inspiration." Such was its impact that the song 'Falling Slowly' earned the Oscar for Best Original Song, and there was never a more deserving recipient of any award; it ranks among the most heartbreakingly beautiful songs ever written.                   

This is for everyone for whom the word "musical" makes their skin crawl

Whenever anyone mentions Andrew Lloyd Webber you break out in a cold sweat, and the thought of someone offering you a ticket to accompany them to the next performance of Hairspray gives you heart palpitations.

You are far from alone in this, but fear not; Once is the anti-musical. It is the antithesis of cheese, the epitome of sincerity. The play's protagonist is an Irish busker, so therefore every single song has a function in the plot and has a genuine aura of credibility. Massive crowds of people suddenly breaking into bombastic, meticulously choreographed song and miraculously knowing all the words? You won't find that here. And it's all the better for it.

The authenticity is palpable

Every single cast member in the musical plays an instrument; Once truly feels like an ensemble effort from a remarkably skillful Irish band.

They clap, they stomp, they hammer their instruments with all the passion of Mumford and Sons on a good day and create the most goosebump-inducing harmonic explosion you'll see anywhere.

The song 'Gold' is a particular highlight and stellar example of this. What's more, the setting is that of an Irish bar, which the audience is invited to go on stage and visit before the show and during the interval. The story rings true as well; the humourously naturalistic dialogue, unnamed and therefore relatable protagonists and quietly shattering tale of unrequited love will strike a chord with even the most hardened of cynics.

Ronan Keating

No explanation needed, really. The man provided the singing voice of Postman Pat in the recent Hollywood film, for goodness' sake. What more could anyone want? 

Go and buy a ticket now, because - and I risk being down with the kids here- you only live Once. 


If you needed any more persuading, watch this live Spotify Session featuring a Once medley and that fit bloke from EastEnders.

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