The 13 performers served as the orchestra, (guitars, mandolins, banjo, drums, percussion, piano, melodica, harmonica, accordion concertina, ukulele, cello, electric bass, violins) all beautifully choreographed, sometimes dancing with their instruments, and stylishly moving set pieces as part of the dance through the rustic mirrored-bar set, with a ballet of chairs and tables, a piano and a "hoover." One scene stood actors on top of the set, overlooking the lights of Dublin, which appeared below in the darkened bar (and on one reclining actor) to magical effect.
Three different actors are sharing the lead; we saw Alex Nee, as "Guy"; Stuart Ward and Ryan Link appear other days. A few other roles are "juggled" throughout the run. "Billy" (Evan Harrington) brought antic moments of humor as the bar owner — but for the most part, this was a wistful, poignant, bittersweet tale of inspiration and love that is "requited" in ways we may not expect. Dani de Waal was a charming spark of life as "Girl" drawing "Guy" out of his depression and into his music and a more hopeful future.
My only complaint is that I would have preferred to see such an intimate show in a more intimate setting. We were in row G, but I still felt too far away to fully register the subtle emotions at play. I wished we were at Riverwalk, where you can "see the whites of their eyes." (Maybe bringing binoculars would be a good idea?)
The beautiful ONCE continues through Sunday.Wed/Thur 7:30 pm Fri 8:00 pm Sat 2:00 pm AND 8:00 pm Sun 1:00 pm AND 6:30 pm