Ronan Keating has described his new role in West End musical Once as a “liberating experience” but admits he was stressed out when he first walked on stage.
Girlfriend Storm Uechtritz and his Boyzone buddies Keith Duffy, Shane Lynch and Mikey Graham were among celebrities that attended a gala performance of the show at the Phoenix Theatre on Tuesday.
Others in attendance were actor Michelle Collins and Irish designer Orla Kiely.
Speaking afterwards, Keating looked back at his first week in the show.
“The stress and fear when I walked out was overwhelming but once I got into it, it was wonderful,” he said.
His London stage debut has been “the most liberating experience”, he added.
Keating takes on the role played by Dublin musician Glen Hansard in the 2007 film of the same name.
His lovesick busker character encounters a Czech immigrant played by Jill Winternitz and the pair embark on a music-infused will they, won’t they relationship.
Ronan was modest about his performance in the show saying that he was “all over the place” at the start, but adding that he settled into the role.
He has been getting more than respectable reviews in the London press.
The 37-year-old told the BBC that appearing in a musical is “a very different monster” to his touring with Boyzone.
“You’re very exposed on stage. I’ve done a week in the show, and every single night you walk out feeling naked,” he said.
And he revealed how he hadn’t previously considered appearing in a West End show because it was “Steo’s gig”, referring to the late Boyzone star Stephen Gately who died in 2009.
“That was his thing and he was amazing at it, but it wasn’t for me,” he said.
“It was this show that changed everything. It’s more like a play with great songs, so it was something I thought I could do,” Ronan added.