'Once' makes Dublin stage debut

Glen Hansard and John Harte pictured at the opening night of Once in The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley.

Glen Hansard and John Harte pictured at the opening night of Once in The Gaiety Theatre, Dublin. Photograph: Aidan Crawley.

 

Once, the Oscar-winning film turned musical, was staged in Dublin last night for the first time.

The original movie may have been a surprise hit, but the musical adaption has, if anything, surpassed its original success winning eight Tony awards on Broadway and a Grammy for best musical theatrical album.

The star of the movie Glen Hansard turned up fashionably late in the company of his mother Catherine.

He admitted it was a "surreal" experience to see his songs and his character being played by somebody else. "I know nothing about this cast. It is slighty different to the American version. I am in town. I didn’t even think I was going to be here so I’m delighted."

His movie co-star and former partner Markéta Irglová will be going to the premiere in London when it moves after its two week run.

The biggest star of the night was the former James Bond, Pierce Brosnan, who turned up the company of his mother Mae and the Once stage-show producer Barbara Brocolli, who also produced seven Bond films.

Brosnan created a stir earlier in the day when he took a tour of his hometown of Navan, much to the delight of local schoolgirls who snapped him on his rounds. He was swamped by well-wishers as he entered the Gaiety Theatre.

President Michael D Higgins was also in attendance. He saw the theatre adaptation in New York. "It’s a brilliant, wonderful story. People will work out the transition from the film to the theatre and they are both excellent in each of the art forms," the President said. "It is a poignant movie story. It is one that deals with the contradiction in all of our lives. It is particularly wonderful to see a fundamental story of love and relationships, disappointment and joy put into the heart of the migrant experience."

He also had a meeting with Glen Hansard to discuss something they are doing together in March.

The original film version was adapted for the stage by playwright Enda Walsh.

The lead roles in the musical production are played by English actor and singer Declan Bennett and by Croatian actress Zrinka Cvitesic.

The same basic story of a busker turned vacuum cleaner repairer who falls for an Eastern European girl remains, as does the soundtrack including the Oscar-winning song Falling Slowly.

Producer Michael Rose said Walsh had done the “most magnificent job” and had improved the original. "It’s more moving, it’s funnier, it gives you greater insight into the people of Dublin. It is one of the most rollercoaster rides in the theatre you could possibly have," he said.

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