I first fell in love with Once after seeing the original 2007 independent Irish film. Then again when I the Tony Award-winning musical adaptation had its West End premiere in 2013. And now again on the musical’s first major UK tour. As a pull quote on the show poster proclaims, when it comes to Once, “seeing it once is not enough”.
Set in Dublin, Once centres around a recently jilted street busker whose love of life – and music – is reignited after meeting a young Czech woman with big dreams. Once has music and lyrics by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, who played the unnamed Guy and Girl in the film. The score includes the Oscar-winning song “Falling Slowly”.
This production, directed by Peter Rowe, was first seen in 2018 at the Queen’s Theatre Hornchurch and New Wolsey Theatre, Ipswich, marking the musical’s UK regional premiere. Two years on, Dan Healy and Emma Lucia reprise their performances as Guy and Girl alongside several other returners in the 16-strong cast of actor-musicians.
Prior to 2018, Dan appeared for two years in Once‘s West End production. Amongst others in the role of Guy in London, he understudied Ronan Keating – he went on to play guitar in Ronan’s live band and co-write six songs on Ronan’s 2016 album Time of My Life, including the single “Breathe”.
After a performance at the New Victoria Theatre, Woking, I was joined by Dan, Emma and fellow cast members Ellen Chivers, Dan Bottomley, Sean Keany, Lloyd Gorman, Samuel Martin, Susannah van den Berg and Peter Peverley.
We discussed falling in love, the rigours of actor-musicianship, naming instruments, perfecting accents, going a cappella and believing in destiny… Once you hear Emma Lucia‘s story on the last, you may be forced to believe in destiny too