Monday, February 25, 2013

New York Theatre Workshop, 'Once': On Grafton Street in November

Gaiety Theatre, Dublin
Feb 22-Mar 9

I don't have time to do a full review of the stage adaptation of Glen Hansard's adored film, Once. Fans of the original will probably like it, and hearing the music live is special. But did anyone else find it, em, kinda weird at points?

The decision to bill the story as a "musical" is a challenging one considering the low-key acoustic balladry that comes with it, and director John Tiffany turns to some odd choreography during numbers to fulfill that promise. The appeal of Once in the first place was its love for music and the making of music, and I wish that he would have left us to the musicians and their playing rather than trying to include that interpret-yourself movement.

Enda Walsh's book finds moments of comedy but there are some shockingly corny lines. I think the movie was received so well internationally because of its candid portrayal of Irish culture but, my God, lines in the stage play such as "We can't have a city without music. Dublin needs you" lean dangerously close to a Bord Failte advertisement. Dire.

Still, the rapturous ovation at the end clearly signals that this story resonates strongly with people in Dublin. It's a story that they're proud to claim their own, and the musical hits those same notes as the original.

What did everybody else think?  

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