I am lucky that my husband and I go to the theatre quite a lot. I don’t write about every play or musical that I see however every now and then I see something that just has to be shared. Come From Away is just such a show.
This week we all went as a family to see this show and my kids all said it was the best modern musical that they had seen. It is not difficult to get tickets like other musicals in the West End. I think this is because there has not been much publicity about the show and the story doesn’t seem like musical material.
This 9/11-set musical is a gently miraculous masterpiece. I know you are already wondering how anything based around that most dreadful of days, September 11th 2001, now always to be known as 9/11, could possibly be entertaining.
Come from Away, written by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, is about the town of Gander, Newfoundland, with a community of just 9,000 people. They found themselves hosting 7,000 temporary arrivals, the travellers on the flights to the US that were grounded on that day.
The writers based the story closely on interviews with real Newfoundlanders. This is a community that stretches itself to breaking point to accommodate the stranded travellers. Like the local animal shelter worker who battles to rescue furry cargo from the planes’ holds, including cats, dogs and a pregnant bonobo ape. Or the schoolteacher who offers comfort to a New Yorker whose firefighter son is missing.
Individual stories are woven through rousing, foot-stomping, all-company choruses. Actors swap between playing locals and incomers with a fluidity that shows it’s just chance separating the two. It makes you look inwards to ask: what would I do in their place?
Irresistible and Inspiring. It’s a musical that get’s everything right.The Times
It shows how at first some of the travellers are very wary of the Gander residents. They anticipate that people will not be so friendly. However they discover a small community who are entirely the opposite. They are warm, welcoming and are proud of their homeland.
So you see out of darkness emerges light. 9/11 was one of the darkest of days in our history and yet this is a strangely uplifting musical. It won 4 Olivier Awards and nightly receives a spontaneous standing ovation at the Phoenix Theatre. Do not miss this fabulous and very unusual show.
To find out more about Come From Away click HERE.