Published on November 19, 2013 | by Holly Gilbert

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Review: Once is not enough

Declan Bennett and Zrinka Cvitesic

Declan Bennett and Zrinka Cvitesic star in Once [Manuel Harlan]

★★★★★

Once is a West End musical that exudes charm and feels like an Irish knees-up.

This musical journey sees an Irish busker meet a Czech girl through their love of music, sparking a connection that moves them fluidly through each song as they come to realise they need each other.

Based on the Oscar-winning film, the stage version hits all the right notes with dazzling precision.

Each member of the cast brings their own unique quality to the show, with a mix of ages and instruments, and you get a sense of the artistic respect shared between the members of the company.

This is a musical that does not comply with West End rules and etiquette; with the actors playing a cacophony of instruments, you see the music come alive as a living, breathing tour de force of sound.

This show is neither stuffy nor pretentious as the story soars on the backs of the talent that it showcases.

The Czech clan allowed for a silly and hilarious breather from the poignant romanticism of the two main characters with their raucous laughter and table-top jigs.

At times frenzied and frantic, the juxtaposition between those moments and those of stillness allows us to listen to the gorgeous lyrics and become lost in the slow lullaby-like melodies as this original love story unfolds.

The beautiful noise the ensemble creates, both vocally and musically, is a treat for the audience as we see intricate and tender relationships formed through a passion for music.

Once is on at the Phoneix theatre, (Charing Cross Road WC2H0JP) until the 31st May

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