Falling Slowly Against the Grain

Bernard Jacobs Theatre, NYC

Adapting movies to stage musicals has become a staple on Broadway. The latest example is Once, based on the well-regarded 2006 low-budget film that had success both at the Sundance Film Festival and with art-house audiences. But Once is not your typical movie turned into a musical. It is an intimate, delicate piece, as opposed to flashy, big-budget musicals such as Sister Act or Priscilla Queen of the Desert. Once has a different feel than those, or almost any other Broadway musical. While I didn't totally respond to its story and its music, it is hard not to admire the musical's warmth, sweetness, and artistry.

I never saw the movie, so I went into Once not fully knowing what to expect. The musical takes place in Dublin; it tells the rather slight story of a down-on-his-luck Irish street musician and the blunt Czech immigrant he meets who inspires him to pursue his love of music. The two develop feelings for each other, but past relationships provide some complications.