Come From Away

Come from Away is one of the most enjoyable and heartwarming musicals that you will ever see, and I would urge everybody who is able to buy a ticket and get down to the theatre while you have the chance .

At first glance the story about thirty eight planes carrying seven thousand passengers landing on Gander International Airport, a small island off the coast of Canada, during the week following the September 11 attack in USA is not an obvious story for a musical. However, Irene Sankoff and David Hein certainly saw the potential  and they drew on stories from both the locals and passengers to create a musical that radiates warmth, humanity, humour, and tragedy. 

Photo credit Jeff Busby

It’s a true ensemble piece, where eleven actors transition from locals to passengers, and multiple characters within each group, with consummate ease so that there is no confusion. Each and every one is excellent.

On a simple set tall tree trunks tower over an open area  furnished by a few chairs, a table and a cafe sign in the corner. The set works brilliantly.

The first notes of the opening song open with rhythm and energy, an energy that is sustained even during the more reflective moments. The musicians, at the back of the stage, occasionally come forward to join the fun, help set the atmosphere, whether during the times of hilarity when much liquor was drunk, and some people kissed a fish, to more sombre moments when people of different faiths turned to their faith for spiritual solace. The juxtaposition of contrasting emotions, so perfectly balanced, was one of the strongest contributing elements to the success of the show.

Come From Away has won numerous awards overseas, and has been a smash hit wherever it plays. Having seen the show I can understand why.

Venue: Her Majesty’s Theatre   Until 29 April

Produced by Rodney Rigby, Junkyard Productions and Festival Theatre Centre

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