Harry Enfield and John Marquez in Once In A Lifetime (Photo: Johan Persson)

Once In A Lifetime

Published December 8, 2016

By Jim Glaub

Once In A Lifetime at the Young Vic is a hilarious, mad-cap comedy about three New Yorkers who spot a unique opportunity to milk a momentous revelation in cinema for money, to riotous results.

It’s 1930s Hollywood. Following the major success of The Jazz Singer, the first feature-length film to feature syncopated sound, these vaudevillian actors spot the chance to cash in on the rise of “talkies” in Hollywood, figuring that every film star will suddenly need to find a voice. The trio hence move west to pose as experts in the field of elocution, starting a school for silent movie stars – but of course, it’s never that easy to become the next big thing in Tinseltown.

Kevin Bishop in Once In A Lifetime (Photo: Johan Persson)Kevin Bishop in Once In A Lifetime (Photo: Johan Persson)

Christopher Hart gives a marvelous update to George S. Kaufmann and Moss Hart’s timeless script, and director Richard Jones delivers a solid, fresh look at the “times-they-are-a-changin” style of comedy; in an increasingly digital-based society, you’ll be amazed just how similar the birth of motion pictures feels to the rise of social media. 

Harry Enfield and John Marquez in Once In A Lifetime (Photo: Johan Persson)Harry Enfield and John Marquez in Once In A Lifetime (Photo: Johan Persson)

On top of that, the fast-paced Hollywood style accent affectations are hilarious, and in terms of the actors –  uhm, who is this guy, cause he’s amazing – John Marquez delivers one of my favorite performances of the year as the goofy sidekick who strikes big with sheer dumb luck. You can’t help but love him. 

John Marquez in Once In A Lifetime (Photo: Johan Persson)John Marquez in Once In A Lifetime (Photo: Johan Persson)

Packed with heart, Once In A Lifetime is a great experience for all ages. It’s lucky for the silent movie stars of the era that it doesn’t need to be said out loud: this is a must see!

Once In A Lifetime plays at the Young Vic until 14 January 2017. You can book your tickets via the venue’s website.

Related shows