He’s never acted on the West End stage before but it turns out Ronan Keating might have found his footing in musical theatre.
The former Boyzone singer – who’s spent most of the year Down Under judging the australian version of The X Factor – is absolutely charming in the lead male role in ‘Once’.
Set in Dublin, the 37-year-old plays ‘Guy’, a humble man who spends his life repairing vacuum cleaners in his dad’s shop while hopelessly busking on the streets.
Despite acting not being his day job, Ronan is simply perfect as ‘Guy’, playing the down-to-earth, everyman role with ease.
It’s odd that even though he’s a world-famous singer and a household name, he actually blends in with the rest of the cast and brings a smile to your face in the role.
However there’s no denying that his intense vocal ability is really what brings the role to life in ways that perhaps previous actors haven’t.
The musical itself is divided into slow, tender numbers (‘Falling Slowly’ is a personal favourite) and more up-tempo songs that at times makes you feel like you are watching a real-life folk concert in Ireland.
‘Once’ is charming, funny, sad and romantic all at the same time, with the relationship between ‘Guy’ and the lead female, ‘Girl’ feeling lovely and charming.
We meet ‘Guy’ as he pines over a lost flame, but not before long, he falls in love with ‘Girl’, a young Czech girl who also has a deep love for music, played by Jill Winternitz.
The dynamic between the two characters feels believable and you do find yourself rooting for them by the end.
There’s not a lot of humour between the leading pair but it’s made up for by the rest of the cast – namely the music store owner, Billy, and the gay bank manager.
But unlike other musicals where you wish they’d get on with the play and quit singing the pointless songs, ‘Once’ is one of those musicals where you’re counting down until the next number.
And for that reason, we’ll be watching it more than Once.
Ronan is in Once until 21 March 2015 at the Phoenix Theatre, Charing Cross Road, London, WC2H 0JP (0844 871 7629). For more information visit http://www.oncemusical.co.uk/.
[Ronan Keating talks divorce]
[Memphis The Musical review]