Tag Archives: Once the musical

First Once trailer featuring Ronan Keating released

4 Dec

The multi award winning musical Once has released their very first trailer featuring new Guy – Ronan Keating – and Jill Winternitz as Girl.


Ronan joined the cast just under two weeks ago and has received some great reviews. Check out my views on his performance here.

Ronan Keating and Jill Winternitz as Guy and Girl will lead the cast in Once The Musical at the Phoenix Theatre until 21 March 2015.


Book your tickets for Once here: http://www.oncemusical.co.uk

For more info follow @OnceMusicalLDN and check out the show on Facebook.

Ronan Keating’s Guy – a first verdict

25 Nov

Having a new lead join one of your favourite shows can be both exciting and a bit scary. I always try and approach change with an open mind. But I admit the news of Ronan Keating joining the West End cast of Once the musical had me worried.
Somehow it seemed wrong to have a “name” in this show – a former boyband member with no experience in theatre. So yes, when I sat down to watch the show I was expecting the worst. However, before I go into detail I am going to say overall I ended up being pleasantly surprised by Ronan Keating’s Guy.


I enjoy the boyish charm he brings to the role. His Guy is sweet and undeniably cute – maybe almost too cute but that’s down to everyone’s personal preference. Ronan’s voice has a lovely tone – one I’ve always enjoyed – but personally I don’t think he has the vocal range to do all of the songs justice. Don’t get me wrong, I like hearing him sing and I appreciate he adapts the songs slightly to fit his voice. But “When your mind’s made up” has lost a bit of its magic with Guy singing very low-key and being almost drowned out by Billy (Tim Prottey-Jones) and the Bank Manager (Jamie Cameron). Ronan’s low-key version of “Falling Slowly” works to a certain extend but personally I miss the powerful higher notes. On the other hand I really enjoy his take on “Sleeping” and apart from the slightly cut notes at the end his “Leave” is nice to listen to. And now and then he will suddenly go for a wonderful and long note (“Falling Slowly” and “Falling Slowly reprise”) that makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up because it’s so intense and beautiful.


As you can see his singing is a bit of a hit and miss in my opinion – there are some great and some not so great bits. The acting on the other hand is really interesting to watch and unlike any other Guy I’ve seen. Ronan’s Guy is a bit like a scared puppy – the character seems to have no self-confidence at all. This would never have worked for Declan Bennett’s or Arthur Darvill’s Guy but Ronan manages to pull it off. It’s a different take on the role and not one everyone will enjoy. But I like to see the shy Irish busker being bossed around by the little Czech Girl (played by the wonderful Jill Winternitz).

The one thing I enjoy immensely is Ronan’s natural Irish accent. It really gives the character that little extra something. I think Ronan generally has a wonderful talking voice – it’s very smooth and warm.

A few off-putting bits thanks to very keen Ronan Keating fans in the audience: Some loud cheers when Guy first appears on stage at the end of the pre-show and whooping when Guy takes off his trousers in the middle of act one – personally I don’t think either fits into the subtle show that Once is. But obviously that’s not something I’ll blame Ronan for.


Ronan Keating will never be my favourite Guy and I’m not the biggest fan of his take on some of the songs. But I can assure everyone that he is not “wrecking” the show and he is not making it the “Ronan Keating One Man Show” either. It’s obvious how much he enjoys being in Once and I have to give him credit for taking on such a demanding role and pulling it off rather well after just a week in the show.
I think he still needs some time to settle into the role and once he does he will be a great addition to this show. Actually, to a certain extend he already is and I look forward to seeing him develop in the role in the months to come.

For more info on the show go to: http://www.oncemusical.co.uk/.

10 Questions with Tomas Wolstenholme

6 Oct

Tomas Wolstenholme trained on the Actor Musicianship program at Rose Bruford College. His credits whilst Training include Into the Woods, The Crucible, The Fall of the House of Usher (Musical Director), ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore and Swindlestock – A new Musical (Composer, MD). Tomas is making his professional debut in Once covering the parts of Emcee and Eamon.
Just after finishing his first full week performing in the show Tomas kindly took some time out of his busy schedule to answer some questions.


For anyone who doesn’t know you: Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you “ended up” in the world of theatre?
Hello! So, I’m 21 and like lots of other people my age I grew up doing amateur and fringe theatre as well as having music lessons through my teenage years. All this led to me making the decision to train as an actor at drama school – I started the Actor Musicianship course at Rose Bruford College in September of 2011 and graduated this summer. During my time at college I co-wrote and produced an Actor-Musician musical called, ‘Swindlestock’. Other interesting facts about me are that I speak Spanish fluently and can solve a Rubik’s cube in a minute (or there abouts). Also, my favourite food is peanut butter.

You are making your professional debut in Once. How does it feel to perform in London’s West End?
It’s still sinking in! Even after 8 shows this week I find myself constantly remembering where I am and how fortunate I am that I was given the chance at one of my dream jobs so early on in my career. I had so much support from the cast as well as my family and close friends, but that first show was terrifying! In one of the scene changes a guitar got knocked over, putting it completely out of tune – of course no one knew that until it got played (very loudly!) As you’d expect this sort of thing does happen in the show – but it’s rare. All the same, they have emergency guitar cover protocols in place and in that moment I remembered that this one was mine! As I started to play they turned down the other guitar and put mine up. It was dead exciting, I felt like doing a victory lap but I think I might have got told off.

Once requires its cast to not just sing and act but to play instruments as well. Do you enjoy this extra challenge? Which instruments do you play?
My first study is classical guitar – I also play piano, tuba, bass guitar, double bass, accordion, mandolin, and a bit of banjo. As with those smaller plucked instruments – if it’s got strings and a fret board – I’ll have a go! I don’t have a ukulele – but they’re a lot of fun. I think I want to try cello next… but we’ll see. It’s finding the time to practice all of them!

How can we picture rehearsals for a show like ‘Once?’ Do you learn to play the songs first then rehearse them with the rest of the cast scene by scene?
I rehearsed for 3 weeks before my first show. At the start it was just me and the resident director learning the ‘track’ (which is the outline for the whole show) for Emcee. Then I had separate ‘one on one’ sessions for movement and music. At the end of week one I did my first bit of rehearsals with the cast. I watched the show a few times that week and I also had the Friday off to go to my graduation ceremony at college, which was lovely! Weeks two and three were similar except they started to get members of the cast in to fill things out. On the Friday of week 3 I did my dress rehearsal with the full cast.

Once has a so-called ‘pre-show’ in which the cast perform a couple of songs while the audience is welcome to join them on stage and have a drink at the on stage bar. What do you think of this?
I LOVE the pre-show! It really sets the show apart from other ones in town, plus if you buy a drink you get a cool ‘Once’ cup! I have 3 in my house now. The only down side to it as a new cast member is that the rest of the company know about 25 numbers already, which meant that just when I thought I’d learnt the whole show I got handed another huge folder of music to memorize…

Unlike other West End shows Once doesn’t have big costume and set changes – it’s all about the story being told through music and words. Do you think this makes it harder for a show like Once to survive in the West End? What do you think of this way of story-telling?
I’m a big fan of storytelling using minimalistic set and props. When I first saw Once I never questioned where we were. Whether we were outside, in the pub, studio – within the context of the play or musical it’s so important to keep coming back to that music. For me it’s a guide, much like how Shakespeare uses rhythm and the pentameter to suggest how the character is feeling. I can’t speak for the people who created this show, but it seems to me that the whole idea of Once is centered around it. The choreography, the scene changes, the set, and the story itself. I think it’s harder to survive because the majority of people don’t know much about what to expect from a show like this until they get there.

What’s your favourite song in the show and why?
‘Gold’, I could sit with Jack (Beale) or David (Hunter) and happily sing it for hours. I love it because it is beautiful and simple. Once does that really well in the score and often the guitar parts aren’t insanely difficult but very precise in the larger scheme of things. In ‘Gold’ we’re all putting in our bit into the song and together the sound is so full and rich.

You are covering Emcee and Eamon in the show. Is there any other part you would like to have a go at?         
I want to have a go at Guy! It’s my absolute dream role at the moment and I’d love to one day have a crack at understudying him or maybe getting to do the real thing. For now though, I’m more than happy exactly where I am.

Ronan Keating is joining Once as Guy in November. Are you looking forward to having him in the show?
It’s gonna be crazy good, I think he’s going to nail it. Can’t wait to meet him and get to know him over the next 4 months.

Last question: Why should people go and see Once?
Once brings something unique to the table right from the offset, It’s an entertaining and beautiful evening like no other. The script is funny, charming and tragic, so come on down and lose yourself in the music.

Thank you Tomas!

Make sure to follow Tomas on Twitter @TDWolstenholme .

Book your tickets for Once here.

Photo Gallery: The Phoenix Collective and Declan Bennett at The Boogaloo

19 Jul

The Phoenix Collective (formed by members of the original London cast of Once the musical) and Declan Bennett got together at The Boogaloo on 12th July together with a number of other artists for an afternoon of music.

Here’s a little photo collection of the gig.

If you like good music I urge you to watch out for upcoming gigs of The Phoenix Collective. Check them out on Facebook and follow them on Twitter @Feenicksband .


Once at the Phoenix Theatre – New cast, April 2014

8 Apr

I went to see Once last week to check out the new cast. My love story with this simple, but simply gorgeous show started two years ago when I first saw the show on Broadway. I had no idea what to expect but the story of Guy and Girl falling in love over their shared passion for music just hooked me straight away. And since the show has transfered to London, the Phoenix Theatre is a place I visit often.


The star of the show for me is definitely its beautiful music by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, closely followed by Zrinka Cvitesic’s Girl. Her feisty portrayal of the Czech immigrant single mum manages to keep just the right balance, using great comic timing but also showing vulnerability and emotions.

The new cast seems to be settling in well. Arthur Darvill’s Guy is completely different from his predecessor’s. His Guy is quite awkward and quirky and he uses a lot of comedy. He is a great musician and has a lovely voice, something that will probably come as a surprise to many people who will only know him from Dr Who, or as in my case, from Broadchurch.

He and Zrinka have already managed to build up a very strong chemistry, and the rest of the cast isn’t far behind.


The thing I love about Once is that it allows a lot of individuality in terms of interpretations and like Arthur’s Guy, the almost entirely new ensemble couldn’t be more different from their predecessors if they tried, yet they still manage to find the essence of their characters.


Standouts for me are Mathew Hamper’s Andre, who is quite young and very vulnerable, with him you feel like he really needs Barushka’s motherly care, Matthew Ganley’s Svec, who is absolutely hilarious and Daniel Healy’s Eamon, who sings my favourite pre-show song Chandler’s Wife brilliantly.

And of course there is Jez Unwin’s hilarious bank manager, who somehow manages to make Abandon in Bandon ever more ‘horrid’.


Once is definitely not your show if you’re looking for a big spectacle, with huge sets and sparkly costumes, but if you’re willing to just sit back and watch a simple love story unfold in front of you, which is going to make you howl with laughter and tug at your heart strings, accompanied by absolutely gorgeous music, I dare you to find a better night out in London.

I really hope this beautiful show and its amazing leading lady are going to get the recognition they deserve at the Olivier’s this weekend.

Review by Sabrina Gombauld

For more info about the show visit http://www.oncemusical.co.uk, check out Facebook and follow @OnceMusicalLDN .

Once Social Media Call – 19th March 2014

20 Mar

Just like last year selected bloggers were invited to attend a special Social Media Call of Once at the Phoenix Theatre. On top of being treated to a couple of songs from the show there was also the chance to ask the cast questions in order to get more insight into what it is like to be a part of Once the musical.

Here are a few pictures and some very special clips of the brand new cast of Once, starring Arthur Darvill as Guy and Zrinka Cvitesic as Girl.
Thank you to my guest blogger for the day, Louise Marris.

To find out more about the show please visit http://www.oncemusical.co.uk/, follow @OnceMusicalLDN on Twitter and check out the show’s Facebook page.

And watch this space for the exclusive Q&A with the cast.

Say it  to me now – live

When your mind’s made up – live

If you want me – live

Falling slowly reprise – live 

Exclusive Photo Gallery