Some time ago I was lucky enough to get tickets for the penultimate night of the musical Once On This Island. The theatre was a hive of activity, with small stalls selling West African and West African artefact’s in the main foyer, in conjunction with an appetising smell wafting over everyone, from food being prepared for the party to happen afterwards – food which you would have difficulty finding normally in the United Kingdom.
The story iSean old one, which we have all heard about in various guises. A village has a iegend that a lovely girl will save the village, but in the process will die through the love for a man who was unobtainable due to birth and position.
The stage was made up into a West African village, with palms, hutSeand a semi-circular pier which disappeared up to the ceiling. It was eye-catching, and very atmospheric, particularly when the appearance of waves happened on the backdrop.
The cast were wonderful, and the singing exciting and excellent. The range of calypso, jazz, Caribbean rhythms, and operatic production, were blended so well, and the actors so buzzing with energy, that you soon became soaked into the plot, hoping for a different ending.
I came away from the theatre refreshed, feeling alive and wanting more…
Unfortunately, it will not be – as the show is now closed, having been on in the West End for only some six months. Why, you might ask. A surplus of musicals? The price of the tickets? But I believe it was the cost and problems of getting it transferred from New York, and produced in Great Britain.
I can only hope that some enterprising amateur group will endeavour to put this musical on in the future. I, for one, would go to it every night – for a slice of happiness.