Q and A with David Hunter – Guy in the new musical ONCE

David Hunter Guy in Once the musicalFollowing the recent cast change, David Hunter and Jill Winternitz lead the cast as Guy and Girl respectively in the Olivier award-winning production of Once, at the Phoenix Theatre.

Hunter, who originally joined the show in July 2013 understudying the role of Guy, and Winternitz had their first performance together on 12th May 2014. Once is the winner of two Olivier awards, including the first ever recipient of the Olivier for Outstanding Achievement in Music.  The show has also won 8 Tony awards including Best Musical and the Grammy for Best Musical Theater Album. Glen Hansard and Markéta Irglová’s Falling Slowly won the Oscar for Best Original Song.

Based on the much-loved Oscar-winning film, Once is a celebration of love, friendship and music. When an Irish busker and a young Czech mother meet through a shared love of music, their songwriting sparks a deep connection and a tender, longing romance that neither of them could have expected.

David Hunter answered a few questions that I put to him recently.

You have been a part of the Once production for a little while now. What do you enjoy most about the show?
It’s just such a wonderful piece of theatre. The scenes are so beautifully crafted and the songs are electric. I’ve been a huge fan of Once ever since I saw the film 8 years ago and the soundtrack’s never left my car stereo! The fact they’ve made it into a musical and I’m now a part of it is totally mind blowing to me. I mean, someone woke up one morning and decided to make my favourite film into a musical. How great is that?!

You have recently taken over the role of Guy. Is there anything specific that you will look to add to the character?
I think you have to bring a lot of yourself to the role. I’m certain no two Guys will ever be the same and the creative team have always encouraged us to put our own stamp on the character. It’s such an intimate show, so you really have to bring that honesty to it. I’m excited to show audiences my version.

What can you tell us about ‘Guy’?
When you meet him at the top of the show, he’s a broken man. Bitter, angry and shut off from the world. There’s so much magic inside of him though and that floods out when he plays those wonderful songs. Meeting Girl is a huge turning point in his life and we start to see the real Guy, buried beneath all that bitterness.

Jill Winternitz has taken over the role of Girl. What is it like to work together?
It’s been lovely. I’ve performed with five different Girls now and so it’s always exciting to get a new one! Just like Guy, every Girl is different and Jill’s interpretation is wonderful. I’ve tried to make her feel welcome and supported because I know how it feels to be the newbie! I think she’s having a blast!

Why should everyone get along to see ONCE?
Quite simply, it’s the most beautiful show I’ve ever seen. I was a fan long before I was a part of the cast and the music has gripped me for the best part of a decade! Trust me, this show will break your heart and stitch it back together again. It’s a beautiful piece of theatre.

Follow David Hunter on Twitter @thedavidhunter
Questions by Neil Cheesman who you can follow on Twitter @LondonTheatre1
Phoenix Theatre London

Evenings: Monday to Saturday 7.30pm
Matinees: Thursday and Saturday 2.30pm
Running Time: 2 hours and 30 minutes
Age Restrictions: Children under the age of 4 are not permitted in the theatre.

Wednesday 4th June 2014