‘Once’ from Black Swan State Theatre Company leaves you wanting more

Once | Regal Theatre | Until 12th June | ★ ★ ★ ★ ½ 


A low, and excited buzz filled the warm art deco styled Regal Theatre. Cast members with their instruments moved among the isles, serenading audience members. Creating the illusion of busker culture, each pocket performance had small applauses from those in their immediate circle – and with that, Once began.

Music was not only used to progress the story, but heightened tone and transitional elements. Expert lighting and staging queues meant that audiences weren’t left in the dark – being pointed to the next chapter of the story, without delay.

Once had seamless writing, able to deliver dark humour in time with beautiful lyrics and allow space for the audience to react in time with the cast, as they delved into the siren song of their own chemistry, with heavier focus kept in Act Two.

Once has truly set a new benchmark for musical theatre, ushering in the age of the “quadruple threat”. For actors with a myriad of talents, to then shoulder the “live action orchestra” mantle, made Once a visual meal for the senses. With so many moving parts, audiences will be left inspired by the awesome choreography employed by Black Swan Theatre Company and Darlinghurst Theatre Company.

Stefanie Caccamo (Black Swan’s Oklahoma!, and Hair the Musical) stuns audiences with her truly powerful voice, range, and stage presence anchors you to the production. Toby Francis (Jesus Christ Superstar, Truth, Beauty, and a Picture of You) also returns to Once the Musical, and transitions between folk and rock with ease. The chemistry between the two leads as strong as the original source material.

Highlights of were Alec Steedman (Twelfth Night, Measure to Measure), the roller derby violinist – performing live strings whilst manoeuvring around cast on rollerskates! Victoria Falconer (Musical Director) who introduced the audiences to instruments of haunting sounds, and folk souls, whilst delivering sass and pizazz in her role as Réza – and Gus Noakes, for being the only Bank Manager we would love to thank, for his presence, comedic timing, and the skill to actively sing badly when you are known to sell out live venues.

Ultimately, the entire cast and crew behind Once have done it again – touring a musical that is familiar, heart-warming, and full of nostalgia – and with a resounding chorus from the audience, gave two well deserved encores. The only downside was that there was no mix-CD available to purchase!

Be sure to get tickets to this Once in a lifetime performance, before it travels to Sydney!

Joshua Hall Haines, images Robert Cato. 

Tickets to Once are available now. Read our interview with Director Richard Carroll.

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