Reviewed by Katie Allen
I saw the film Once a couple of years ago and loved the romantic story and the Oscar winning song – Falling Slowly – so when I saw the multi-Tony and Grammy winning musical was coming to Woking I was keen to see it.
We entered the theatre about 10 minutes before the show was due to start but the stage was already starting to fill with actors. The traditional Irish pub setting looked really authentic and as more actors took to the stage with their musical instruments, they began to play giving the theatre a lively atmosphere.
The story starts with a guy playing an angst-ridden song in the pub. It’s clear he’s lost the love of his life and a girl who watches wants to know more. And so begins just a week in their life where they find each other and realise how important music, love and friendship is.
The music is Irish Folk and we couldn’t stop ourselves for tapping our feet and clapping our hands throughout. The standout song is Falling Slowly which is a beautiful love song, but I also adored the acapella version of Gold in the second act. The whole company singing so sweetly, and the harmonies literally gave me goose bumps.
The 16 strong company were so multi-talented it blew me away. All of them played either the guitar, accordion, cello, violin and piano and most played more than one. They do all this while also acting, singing AND dancing. They are true quadruple threats!
Special mention should go to Daniel Healy and Emma Lucia for their mesmerising chemistry and undoubted talent. I also enjoyed the sprinkles of comedy throughout largely provided by Dan Bottomley as Billy, Lloyd Gorman as Svec and Samuel Martin as the Bank Manager.
“Love’s all very well but in the hands of people it turns into soup.”
Once is on in Woking until Saturday 15th February and would make a great, romantic, Valentine’s date with a loved one. If you’re more used to the older style theatre with small seats and no legroom, then you’ll be pleasantly surprised at this modern space. The theatre itself is within a shopping centre and next to a cinema giving a great atmosphere as you walk into the box office and allowing many options for dinner pre-show. There are bars and toilets on many levels and the middle level sometimes has a piano player playing show tunes which adds a sophisticated ambiance reminding me of a cruise ship. You can even get your interval snacks delivered to your seat!
We usually drive and park in the Peacock’s shopping centre multi-storey next door costing a flat rate of £1.50 if you enter the car park after 7pm. The added bonus of this location is you won’t need to store a bulky coat under your chair as the walk from the car park is completely under cover. I would also recommend using the prepay function at the car park pay points – it saves a long-time queuing after the show. For those who don’t drive, Woking railway station is a short 10-15-minute walk away.
Tickets cost from £13 (plus £3.65 transaction fee).
Once is at the New Victoria Theatre in Woking from 10-15 February 2020, for more information or to book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/new-victoria-theatre or call the box office on 0844 871 7645.
New Victoria Theatre, The Ambassadors, Peacocks Centre, Woking, Surrey, GU21 6GQ