Come From Away - Review
Updated: Sep 28, 2019
Come From Away is the feel good musical we didn’t know we needed. Every once in a while you see a show and know it is something special. This is that show, an unforgettable incredible true story about human spirit.
The show focuses on Newfoundland, an island off the coast of Canada which, after usually having 2 planes a day land at their airport, had 38 planes diverted to them after the New York 9/11 attacks. It goes on to tell the stories of the residents and those from the planes, a group of strangers thrown together by circumstance, in the following days through a period of uncertainty for everyone.
It welcomes you immediately, with all the locals telling you about how that day started. Before the first song has finished you feel welcome, involved and like you’ve know them forever which is a perfect metaphor for how those on the planes must have felt.
With a cast of just 12 each person has to take on multiple roles of those in the town and those that have come from away. It would have been easy for this to get confusing but some distinctive hats and jackets means is easy to follow and the chameleon cast are superb at moving between roles (and notably accents). As seamlessly as the cast move between characters so does the set which can be a coffee shop one minute and within a split second be a plane. The blocking and direction to make this happen is ingenious.
Given the number of people involved and the different stories in different hands this would have become incoherent but the stories are all pulled together beautifully, symbolic for how people pulled together in such a difficult and strained situation.
That isn’t to say that everything focuses on the good. The show doesn’t shy away from showing some of the negative side of human nature and displays some of the difficult and horrible situations that arose from the tragedy. It is perhaps this balance that makes the show so engaging.
For me it felt like an emotional rollercoaster and I cried a lot! But I challenge anyone not to feel uplifted. I have never seen an entire audience jump to it’s feet in unison as the lights fade at the end of the show which is tribute to the entire cast and crew. The four Olivier’s it won (plus the others it was nominated for) were well deserved. The effort put into this show to make everything right is clear to see. And it’s interesting to see the situation through a different lens that demonstrates what humanity can do for each other when they pull together, even in face of such a tragedy.
It’s an easy well deserved 5 Laura Michelle-Kelly production. If you see one show this year, make sure it’s this.
And make sure you add a pin to the map they have in the bar – everyone who has Come From Away can say where that away is!
Tickets are available here: https://comefromawaylondon.co.uk/