Posted: 13.01.20 at 23:52 by The Editor
A VERY wet and windy evening in Southend might not seem the place to be to witness something truly beautiful, but those of us who braved the elements to witness the first night of Once at Southend Cliffs Pavilion were rewarded in the best possible way.
I have to confess this musical had passed me by unnoticed, despite being a Tony-winning triumph on Broadway and enjoying a successful run in the West End.
Perhaps it's because just about everything in the show (apart from talent) is understated. Magnificently so.
This story tugs the heartstrings, it makes you genuinely laugh and you follow the ebbs and flows of a story of agonising and unrequited love with a series of moments that touch the soul.
It is a show based on the 2007 film of the same name (again - and shamefully so - a mystery to me).
It centres around an unnamed 'Guy' (Daniel Healy) and 'Girl' (Emma Lucia) meeting on the back of two broken relationships. They share a deep love of music and girl uses that love to breathe life back into a broken guy.
It's an extraordinary concept and this is an extraordinary show. Aside from the leads it features 14 superbly talent musician actors, who play a multitude of instruments and bring warmth and depth to the production. Their ensemble numbers are a top-tapping joy to behold.
This is a cast that clearly enjoys its work and they are already moulded into a single unit. Their timing is immaculate and their music memorising. One simple acapella piece is stunning.
In many ways no one should be signalled out from this cast, it's a truly composite piece, but it would be churlish not to highlight Daniel Healy and Emma Lucia.
He is a bundle of angst, passion and raw talent, she is simply serene and as good vocalist as you will see on any stage. And comedy and pathos to the mix and their charismatic partnership will embrace your heartstrings.
Once is on at the Cliffs until Saturday. Sample one of the big songs in rehearsal on the video.
You can get more details, or book, via the red button below.
Review by NEIL SPEIGHT