I am a great fan of Eastern European and Russian clowning and mime and have, in the past, travelled many miles to catch shows - so I was glad that I was able to book in for Once... which was receiving a good buzz. I settled down with a reasonable sized audience and at first felt that warm feeling I usually get from such shows.
However, something was amiss, I can normally read these shows pretty well, but without the detailed synopsis many of the images and allusions would have been lost on me. Obviously I was not alone as I counted over 25 people leaving during the show. There was an huge amout of talent on stage and a great deal of work had gone into this production - visually it was stunning, but the story arc was not readable and, as one colleague put it, "if it had been a third shorter it would have been twice as good" ... less would indeed have been more.
In the end, as the performers celebrated on stage, I felt that I could see part of the flaw; self-indulgence had been allowed to overtake artistic endeavour. To be honest, I was disappointed.