Through May 2
ONCE MusicalFare Theatre/Daemen College.
“Once” at MusicalFare is kind of a European Union musical, based on a movie about a Czech woman and an Irish busker with an ex-girlfriend in New York City.
It’s to be expected, with a book from Irish playwright Enda Walsh and music and lyrics from Irish writer Glen Hansard and Czech Markéta Irglová.
A couple of the songs came from others.
In Dublin, Girl (Renee Landrigan) has a defective vacuum and a daughter who shows up on stage but her background is vague.
Guy (Steve Copps) writes music and plays music when his shyness doesn’t take over but survives by repairing vacuum cleaners, while planning to quit music because he wrote for the former flame and she’s gone.
Guy and Girl bond over the vacuum and music.
The show has a large cast, all of whom play at least one instrument.
That’s something MusicalFare has done a lot of in recent years and it works.
The biggest problem is not the multi-national lust dream, but that it’s all kind of beige once you get past Brussels relationships.
It’s nice and nice only, although the show is very well done and adroitly directed by impresario Randall Kramer and well choreographed by Michael Walline.
Head out to the theater or look at the movie, which, I think, has the same ending.
Kramer, Walline and Theresa Quinn, who’s music director and a cast member, put a lot of strong musicians on stage, especially Copps on guitar and Landrigan on piano.
There are a number of pleasant songs in the show, especially “Falling Slowly,” “The Moon,” the Banker’s (Jacob Albarella) “Abandoned in Bandon” and the cast with “When Your Mind’s Made Up.”
There’s a driven mood to the show, song after song as the Guy and the Girl circle each other like the bull and the Matador on a sunny afternoon, unable to make that final move.
That drive keeps it all going and if it doesn’t, the bar in Cris Cavanagh’s set is actually in operation during the show and you might get some Guinness or Bushmill’s to get through it.
The show doesn’t qualify for that old Broadway joke, that if you don’t leave whistling it’s not a hit.
“Once” might not qualify that way but it’s pleasant, entertaining and very well done by a very strong cast.
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