BWW Review: ONCE at Bucks County Playhouse
Music, connection, fear, love, loneliness... Once, is a musical that isn't afraid to grab hold of your heartstrings and take you on a journey through the spectrum of human emotion and universal experience. The 8-time Tony Award-winning Broadway smash hit opened last night at the Bucks County Playhouse bringing romance, a dreamy sense of melancholy, and the magic of a shared love of music to this historic theater.
Once takes place in Dublin, and follows Guy, an Irish musician with a broken heart and a sense of having lost his place in the world, and Girl, a Czech immigrant with a complicated personal history of her own who is drawn to Guy by their shared love of music. Over the course of a week they develop a friendship that slowly evolves into romance, and their lives intertwine in a celebration of life, love, and the freedom that comes with being brave enough to shed your fears.
This production is directed by Travis Greisler, and stars Matt DeAngelis and Mackenzie Lesser-Roy, two actors who are well-acquainted with the magic of Once. From the moment you walk into the theater, you are swept up in Nate Bertone's pitch-perfect set where pale wood walls and soft, warm lighting immediately transport you into the world of these characters. The talented cast of musicians further serve to submerge you into that world before the lights even go down as they jump into a folksy jam session as naturally as if you had accidentally stumbled your way into a spirited pub.
Mackenzie Lesser-Roy's gorgeous voice and ability to deliver a line with equal parts sincerity and sarcasm effortlessly becomes the heart of this production, while Matt DeAngelis' emotional power and musicianship serve as your steady guide through the story. The entire cast fills the theater with cohesive, supportive energy, delivering a production that successfully celebrates love, life, and music.
Photo Credit: Joan Marcus