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“Great 'small' musical: highly recommended” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Phoenix Theatre

Phoenix Theatre
Charing Cross Road, London WC2H 0JP, England (Covent Garden)
+44 844 871 7615
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Ranked #174 of 2,327 things to do in London
Certificate of Excellence 2014
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Owner description: Owned and operated by Ambassdor Theatre Group (ATG) the Phoenix was designed by Giles Gilbert Scott and Bertie Crewe. It opened in 1930 with the premiere of Noel Coward's Private Lives starring the author, Gertrude Lawrence and Laurence Olivier. Many star actors have appeared at the theatre including Maggie Smith, Diana Rigg, John Gielgud, Dustin Hoffman, Derek Jacobi, Kenneth Branagh and Stephen Fry. More recently the theatre has presented a number of successful musicals including, between 1991 and 2012, Willy Russell's Blood Brothers which became the theatre's longest-running show and was seen by over 5 million people. The theatre is now home to the award-winning Broadway musical Once.
camarillo, ca
Top Contributor
123 reviews 123 reviews
69 attraction reviews
Reviews in 49 cities Reviews in 49 cities
340 helpful votes 340 helpful votes
“Great 'small' musical: highly recommended”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

This is the show for you if you want to see a musical, with songs you will remember and hum days later. It doesn't have the glitz/glam like the 'big' West End musicals, but I liked it better for all that.

Be sure and get there early; there is a pre-show of singing/dancing which begins about 7:10. And since the show takes place in Ireland, and includes (of course) a bar, you have the unusual option of going up on the set during intermission for a drink. (Much better than the overpriced ice cream, selling for 4.50.)

Like many theatres, they sell 'day' tickets when the box office opens at 10 am for seats in the first row (for 25 pounds). Unlike many other shows, there is no obstructed view - these are actually some of the best seats in the house.

Also note: although the address says Charing Cross Road, it is at the very top of the road, and the closest Tube station is actually Tottenham Court.

Visited February 2014
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English first
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Once the musical”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 30, 2014

Had a great time at the show. The music was super. Great idea to invite the audience up on to the stage at the start to join in with the cast singing and enjoying the craic!

Visited January 2014
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
“ONCE - Good show but...”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed January 19, 2014

As always I will highlight the little niggles (most people seem to review with their rose tint glasses on). I received two tickets as an Xmas gift.

Firstly, you can hear underground tubes passing every 2 mins which is off putting given that the show is quiet for the most part.

The show is largely unplugged (acoustic instruments) so it's very quiet. Would have liked it all to be amplified nice and loud. I found myself dozing off a couple of times (which I felt guilty about) but if it was more loud and lively this would not have been the case. You need super sharp hearing for the (in between music) acting scenes, as people coughing and spluttering easily muffles key lines in the dialogue.

The storyline is weak, but the talent and sprinkling of humour wins you over. I imagine the original movie on which this show is based was terrible.

If you like Irish folk music or Ronan Keating, or Mumford and Sons, it's a bonus I guess. Personally I kept thinking I was listening to Ronan Keating. Their was even a pencilled in Ronan Keating jibe in the show....ooh the irony as it took the words right from my mouth!

The over enthusiastic viewers gave a standing ovation and everyone else follows it, so more of a precession that a real standing ovation.

At £40 a ticket I find it hard to recommend. Maybe £20 would change my view.

Anyway it was an enjoyable experience just don't expect to be blown away.

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
South East UK
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
6 attraction reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
29 helpful votes 29 helpful votes
“ONCE - Very good show excellently performed”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 9, 2014

I fully agree with the many reviews that praise ONCE at the Phoenix in London.

It is a musical play and as such has strong characters and an interesting story line along with some really good songs written by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova who also performed the main roles in the movie version in 2006. As a fan of Hansard and the band The Swell Season, and of the movie, I was not sure the show could captivate me but I was so wrong.
The show adds another dimension, and of course a live performance beats recordings and movies in terms of atmosphere and emotional power.

The bar on the stage is a neat move, and the ability to order drinks etc from your seat is yet another nice feature in this small, atmospheric theatre.

The lead into the show was interesting (it sort of just starts) and the show itself was really excellent. Strong performances by all of the cast and amazing prop changes that were a pleasure to watch on their own help to make this a well rounded and fun experience.
A generous sprinkling of humour and a fair share of pathos round off a great performance, which finished to a standing ovation.

Well done to the entire cast and production team. A brilliant night out and a pleasurable experience all round.

Visited January 2014
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Weybridge, United Kingdom
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26 reviews 26 reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
“Once, not enough”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 29, 2013

Amazing show, Once. Great musical, modern with very talented performers. If you do go to this show take a tip and buy a pint on the stage!

Visited December 2013
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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