Amid a 2019 full of barrages of non-stop negativity – from Brexit and Theresa May to Donald Trump being but a few things constantly in the headlines this year – it’s hard to remember a simpler time for us, this bizarre being that is humanity! I would imagine that the last thing you would go to think of when searching way back in your mind for a more peaceful time would be the tragic 9/11 bombings of the twin towers in New York way back in 2001. And of course you shouldn’t – when New York was hit, it shook the planet to its very core, the entire world was frightened and scared of the looming terror that came with these attacks. Amid all the chaos that was happening on the ground – it is easy to forget that some 7000 passengers in the air were left in there with nowhere to land. And it is here that comes our story, it is here that brings us Come From Away. When these 7000 passengers were forced to land in Newfoundland Canada, the story that proceeds of companionship, love and tenderness is one that we cannot endorse enough.
With book, music & lyrics all composed by Irene Sankoff and David Hein – the first number of this fantastic production is ‘Welcome to the Rock’. A huge embrace from the cast into their small secluded lives in Newfoundland establishing the pace for the rest of the show, energetic, funny and heart-warming and with accents so brilliant they have to be heard to be believed! With the band on stage and the actor’s movement interwoven around them and each other, the sense of community couldn’t be greater.
We are then introduced to the people who will come to land in Newfoundland – a fantastic mix of ages, races and sexualities that make for a fantastic dynamic within the show – made only stronger through songs such as ’28 Hours’ and ‘Costume Party’, when they interact with one another and the permanent residents of Gander, Newfoundland. From the couple from New York, to the English and American singles lumbered together – and the seriously misunderstood Egyptian man, it is impossible not to fall in love with every single individual character whether they are similar to us or a complete world apart.
The acting within this production is beyond superb – with a cast of just 12 actors all singing and acting their hearts out, there are points in the play when it is hard to decipher who is who, this is not a negative point though – but a testament to the hard work of all actors on stage. At one point it seemed as though this could have been a company of 20 – 30 players all taking up particular roles, when you realise it is just the 12 actors who all come out together at the start, and become both the Newfoundland residents, and the air passengers who had to land there, it is truly astounding. Not a dud note for any cast member within the show, all bringing flawless performances both to the characters they play and the songs they have to sing.
The set while simple and bare – works beautifully. Whether they are sat in close proximity to illustrate that they are on a plane or a bus – or the simple use of beer bottles and more being more sparsely spaced – the energy of the cast and Christopher Ashley’s gorgeou direction – make every single scene appear vivid and vibrant, without the need for an extravagant set changes, just actors and the music. We know where they are, we know what they are doing, and it perfect.
In a musical that is so upbeat set to the backdrop of something so devastating, It has a wonderful ability to take you so swiftly from fits of hysterical laughter to devastating sadness. A true roller coaster in terms of the plot – all aspects of 9/11 are handled with incredible care – and again a testament this to the writing and music that it is able to make us laugh amid one of the darkest times in recent history.
Clearly we could go on and on about this play – but the only way for you to truly experience it is to see for yourself. Running at The Phoenix Theatre in London, we cannot endorse this Olivier awarding winning musical enough.
Get your tickets now at theatretickest.london.