Toronto audiences fall head over heels for this lovely musical romance

Based on the motion picture written and directed by John Carney
Book by Enda Walsh
Music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová
Directed by John Tiffany

Stuart Ward and Dani de Waal from the ONCE Tour Company © Joan Marcus.

Love is a powerful creative force in Once, the Broadway show with book by Enda Walsh and music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová that took home eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, in 2012. Now on tour, the highly acclaimed piece is currently on stage at the Royal Alexandra Theatre as part of Mirvish's 50th anniversary season.

Featuring an ensemble of actor/musicians who play their own instruments on stage, Once tells the story of a brokenhearted Irish street musician—Guy (Stuart Ward)who is about to give up on his craft when he meets a sweet young Czech Girl (Dani De Waal) who takes a sudden interest in his music and inspires him to go after his dream. A talented pianist and singer in her own right, Girl helps Guy get funding to record an album, bringing together other musically inclined members of the Dublin community in the process. The unlikely pair form a strong bond from the moment they meet, however their inevitable love is forced to compete with complex realities. Namely, he has an ex-girlfriend waiting for him in New York City and she has a husband and child. Sigh. But they do make beautiful music together.

Set mostly in an Irish pub (audience members are invited on stage for a drink while the musicians jam pre-show), Bob Crowley's resourceful set transforms from a bar into a music shop, a family home, a bank and a recording studio with the addition of a few tables and chairs. Director John Tiffany gets committed performances out of both leads (De Waal's Girl is particularly captivating), and the ensembleincluding Raymond Bokhour as Da, Matt DeAngelis as Švec, John Steven Gardner as Eamon, Donna Garner as Baruška, Erica Swindell as Réza, Kolette Tetlow as Ivanka, Evan Harrington as Billy and Benjamin Magnuson as Bank Mangerwhose musical accomplishments are heightened by Steven Hoggett's graceful movement direction throughout.

Like the title of the musical's principal song "Falling Slowly," this simple tale unfolds gently, yet hits home with powerful force. Memorable scenes include a tender moment shared between Guy and Girl on a hill overlooking the sparkling city at night, and a soft acapella version of "The Moon" performed by the company.

Don't miss this beautiful piece of theatre. A conventional love story told in an unconventional way.

Once runs until January 5 at the Royal Alexandra Theatre. Visit mirvish.com for more information and to buy tickets.

Show Dates: 
Tue, 2013-11-26 - Sun, 2014-01-05
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