While I was apprehensive about going to watch Once in a Lifetime as I knew next to nothing about it, it turned out to be a very entertaining evening.
The play tells the story of three small time vaudeville actors who on the advent of film with sound or the ‘talkies’ go to Hollywood in search of fame and fortune. They go with a plan to create an elocution school for the new stars who will now be required to talk on screen but it is dim-witted George Lewis whose series of mishaps and mistakes leads him to becoming the top name in Hollywood. The story is littered with an array of lively characters including disgruntled playwright Lawrence Vail, aspiring actress Susan Walker, extravagant gossip columnist Helen Hobart and film mogul Glogauer, to name a few. They all combine together to create a comedic story but also reveals a hidden truths about Hollywood and the people who run it.
The concept of the play maybe one that has been see before in shows such as Singin’ in the Rain but the message of the business being run by those who really have no clue and are inept to do so, is one that seems strikingly relevant today.
The cast portray this range of bizarre and absurd characters brilliantly. While many may be drawn in by Harry Enfield, who is making his stage debut in Once in a Lifetime and he does portray his role well but he is far from the shining star in this production. I was very pleasantly surprised by John Marquez’s George, who he portrays perfectly with great hilarity and acting, making him a very loveable character. Lizzy Connolly, who plays Susan Walker, is what drew me to this play and she did not disappoint. She played the part brilliantly and it was nice to see her in a non-musical role which showed off her multi-talents and once again reinforced her name as one to watch out for in the future.
The set was interesting and seemed simple but yet was also able to create the feeling of a contemporary film studio but also had the concrete look gave it a hardened edge similar to that being portrayed of the film industry in the play.
Once in a Lifetime certainly provides an entertaining night out and I would definitely recommend giving it a watch. The actors in it are sublime and each fits their role perfectly and while the story may lack in some places they certainly make up for it as does the message of the play. It is the comedy that makes this show and it is certainly full of it, it is hard to not walk out with a smile on your face after a very enjoyable evening.
Play till the 14th January 2017, tickets available here.
Image at top not mine, found here.