Once (review)

Once (review)
Once (review)
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THE PLAY: Based on the popular 2007 film about a frustrated singer/songwriter in Dublin and the Czech woman who encourages his talent.


THE PRODUCTION: This cast is loving every minute of the music they’re making and it’s infectious, starting with the pre-show jam in the lobby. In the lead, Ken Allen Neely is a strong musician and solid presence with Katherine Fried’s “Girl” full of sly comic charm. From the first magical duet, their harmony saturates the stage (literally and figuratively). Every supporting role provides appealing moments, with Jon Patrick Penick and Trevor Lindley Craft as comic standouts. Director/choreographer Nathaniel Shaw has filled the show with warmth and heart, reveling in the play’s Irish charms. I’m usually a maniac for snappy pacing, but Shaw lets the intimate encounters breathe, which are made more compelling by the strong chemistry between the leads. This show is largely about the songs and this excellent ensemble (who also play all the instruments) fills the theatre with beautiful music, thanks to the musical direction by J. Michael Zygo and Derek Dumais’ sound design. The technical elements all work well. Running time: 2:25


THE POINT: Once is a wondrous combination of love for music and music for love!


5 out of 5 stars (5 / 5)


At Virginia Rep’s November Theatre thru 3/2




Trevor Lindley Craft, J. Michael Zygo, Jon Patrick Penick, Lauren Wright. Photo by Jay Paul.

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