Some people ask why this production is called “Once” and I do really think it’s up to the viewer to decide on that for themselves. For me, it’s that old notion that in this world of billions there’s only one soul mate out there for each of us and this is the story of girl meets boy, girl loves boy but life as it stands isn’t great for either of them.

There’s a lot of what if’s here but if this Phoenix Theatre hit does not make your heart skip a beat and a tear come to your eye, then you really are a robot!

Based in Belfast this story of a heartbroken Irish fella (Arthur Darvill) who gives up on his musical passion because of a love lost meets his match when he meets a Czech girl whose personality and passion for life doesn’t inspire him to carry on but more beats him into submission. Of course this girl’s influence brings him back to his passion but will they find themselves falling slowly in love and will life’s little tests bring them to their knees?

Once is a sombre beast that will bring you to tears and with an all new cast comes a whole new dynamic to the show. Zrinka Cvitešić remains in her role as girl but the rest of the cast excluding a couple of the ensemble are entirely new from the original launch of Once The Musical in London. Arthur Darvill joins the cast as the male lead and the one thing that surprised me half way through? THAT’S RORY FROM DR WHO!!! My inner geek took flight and then I was like what a talented mother fucker, no fair! No fair at all!

These two together capture the essence of Once The Musical, the hurt, the love, the heart break. Their songs will pick you up, pull you down and bring you to tears as this love story unfurls itself before your very eyes. This is one shocking little show that will make you look at the one you love and appreciate them a whole lot more as a result!

They’re not the only ones that make up this lovely cast though, the ensemble and the main cast act as orchestra and performers playing all the instruments that will fit onto the stage, this is a musical stage play at heart with easy transitions, one set and a whole lot of heart on offer, it’s an unmissable experience that will bring all the emotions you might not have felt in a long time thanks to the information age and its talent for helping us move on from a feeling a microsecond after feeling it!

Once is that sombre theatre experience that stays with you long after you’ve left your seat, it’s a momentary re-evaluation that even to have loved and lost is good enough for you, for me, for anyone just to share that connection with someone else and know that despite everything you’ll be alright….