A masterclass in story telling would be my basic summary of Once. Great to see a musical which doesn't pretend to be anything bigger than it is than a simple love story with unexpected, entirely natural turns. As stewart said above, performances were sublime across the board. I found myself fully realising the environments the play took us to, or at least until someone received a phone call or decided to look at their phones (four times in Act One, I counted).
It's terribly easy to fully believe Declan Bennett's Guy, every bit the passionate composer. I saw Phoebe Fildes as Girl, wouldn't ever have guessed this is her professional debut production - fully at ease here. I went on Monday and thoroughly enjoyed myself, although I fully expect Once to be the type of show which a return visit would make me fall for it so much more. The second half seemed to lose its way with me briefly, think I became distracted for a few minutes.
Biggest flaw would be the sound system, I lost a lot of lyrics at the side of the dress circle. However the instruments carried into the audience beautifully and I realise how difficult mixing a production like this can be. That said, I've had Failing Slowly in my head most of today, so it must have done something well!
Next time, I aim to sit in the stalls. Up close I suspect this will be even more magical.
I was in exactly the same seat as you, craftymiss, and was thinking the exact opposite! I didn't want to be any further back. In fact, I think the Phoenix is the wrong house for it. Too big. Would love to see it in a small fringe venue, or somewhere like the Donmar. The emotional impact then would be even more intensified.
That's really interesting, I actually felt like the Phoenix was really well suited to the show. I didn't think it felt too big, although I do agree the show would be amazing in a venue like the Donmar. And couldn't agree more with your earlier comments about the show. At the end of it, there were tears. Lots of them. I saw the original Broadway cast, and while still fantastic, it feels like this company is connecting to the show in a much deeper way. Performances across the board are pretty sublime in my opinion.
I only first saw him at West End Live and he's sheer pleasure & enjoyment was palpable. It made me want to see JB & Ive seen it 6 times since. I've only seen Ryan once but he was fab as was John Lee who I also saw
Just back from the matinee and I have to say, this is REALLY something special. And this is coming from a HUGE swell season fan, big fan of the movie and I've seen the NYC version. This cast is really phenomenal. Stuart Ward was on as Guy and he and Zrinka had amazing chemistry. Unless someone else comes along with something pretty phenomenal, Zrinka needs to walk away with the Olivier next year. They both effortlessly capture the heart and soul of this piece. It is extremely moving and worthwhile. Our audience quite literally leapt to their feet at the end. Beautiful, beautiful show.
Just saw him tonight. He was amazing. It was my first time seeing Jersey Boys and whilst it certainly isn't the best thing I've ever seen, Ryan was sublime. He evidently loves the show - every time the audience applauded you could just see the sheer delight on his face. I have never seen a performer get so much delight from the audience in anything I've seen.
And? All shows have slow days. I've been at performances of Wicked where there were probably only about 500 people and that theatre's got a capacity of over 2000 and a show with much higher running costs.
I really don't think there's any point in all the negativity. If it closes, it closes, and the West End will be poorer for it, but there's no point in pre-empting it! Never mind that other performances have been pretty much sold out, so it's not all bad.
I actually find this attitude really annoying. So if you're not willing to go without food for 12 hours, not have a drink all night and sit in complete silence you shouldn't go to the theatre?
We wouldn't have a thriving theatre scene if everyone had to meet your standards - people really would stay at home! A night at the theatre is meant to be entertaining, not an endurance test.
I'm as annoyed by anyone else by genuinely disruptive behaviour, but really, if the smell (or sight - ice cream doesn't have a noticeable smell, it's the mere sight of people eating it that offended your sensibilities in your original post) of food and alcohol affects you *that* badly, maybe you should be the one who stays at home. That would certainly represent less of a financial loss to the theatre than everyone else staying away!
I think you are missing my point. There is a time and a place to eat and having a 'picnic' of smelly sausages and warm pasties front row behind the conductor in Her Majesty's is clearly unacceptable. I was approx 7 seats down and could smell it all all the way through the first Act. Even the conductor turned around and stared when he entered the orchestra pit. If someone is desperate to eat and can not manage 2 1/2 hrs then they should step outside in the interval and eat their crunchy Pringles, rattling Maltesers and rustling Minstrels. I also never said an ice cream had a noticeable smell, but warm pasties, sausages and cheap red wine does. You are right it isn't an endurance test, the test is for people to plan effectively to ensure they don't disturb the enjoyment of those around them. One person's poor behaviour affects dozens of others, not to mention the performers on stage. I have friends who are performers and they tell me they can smell, see and hear the disruption even from quite far back in the auditorium. Maybe those actors should stay at home if it is annoying them too.
I have been attending the theatre since I was a very young child and I have seen a huge decline in behaviour, the problem is parents do not teach their children how to behave in public anymore and this over spills into the theatre so when these children become adults they have no sense of propriety. It is not the cinema where people seem to wander around wherever they like now (or they were when I last went a few months ago).
Everyone has their own standards and I have no right to impose mine on others, but when Ive paid £60+ for a good seat I expect the theatre to be more robust when dealing with those who are clearly spoiling it for the majority. If people are happy with smells, noise & other disruptions then that is fine, but some of us are not and I will continue to ask people to be quiet or get the FOH to deal with it.
I saw this on Tuesday and really loved it. I thought it was a real breath of fresh air among the musical offerings in London. Admittedly if it had not been a success in NY it probably would have started life in a smaller fringe type venue and hopefully gained buzz and transferred I saw it from the rear of the stalls and it felt very intimate and having seen Blood Brothers from 'on high' in the Phoenix the whole space never feels that big anyway.
I really hope it finds an audience, the cast are talented especially the two leads and it's been a while since something so fresh has been seen in London's musical theatre scene.
Ben Jennings is my favourite at the moment. Another consistent performer who's CTMEOY is in a different class! But the show has had some great covers who individually will appeal to somebody. It's good we don't all like the same thing. I just would like the show to stay at the high level it's always had. Casting directors dont always get it right!
She had seen Once and her comments on the performances in this show were very perceptive - I will not repeat them here. Suffice it to say her comments did not lead me to beat a path to the box office for this.
How do you know her comments were perceptive if you haven't seen the show?
Is it just me who gets annoyed when people take others' opinions as gospel without seeing a show, even if they come from someone like Elaine Paige? See the show yourself and make your own mind up! Or don't, but at the very least don't just assume one person's opinion is correct - there's no such thing as a correct opinion!
Saw the final preview last night - was so impressed by it. Beautiful staging, beautiful music. The two leads are just brilliant, both deserve awards when they come round next year. They sing beautifully, but most importantly their characters are so believable. Never seen such subtle acting in a musical in a 1,000 seat theatre! Very classy.I loved Book of Mormon, but really think this show is in another league - this is by far the more innovative show in terms of taking musical theatre into a different area/style. I really hope the critics embrace it. If there's any justice this will be a massive success. Go see.
Eh? £25 has been the standard for Day Seats for the past few years for a lot of the musicals.. For me, 'Hairspray' was worth queuing to get those front row tickets back in the early days when it was sold out. I thought they were the best kind of value you could get for a show like that.