Deserving of its accolades, Come From Away is an inspirational tale that showcases the best in humanity.
The now Olivier Award-winning musical is a must see this theatre season; a heartwarming tale that rises from the tragedy of 9/11.
Awarded ‘Best New Musical’, Come From Away is based on the true tales of the passengers stranded on Gander, Newfoundland for a 5 day period after the attack. A town of 10,000 suddenly had to accommodate for an additional 6,579 people and this is the story of how they did it and the relationships that were created along the way. The musical’s title is from the Newfoundland slang for a traveller that wasn’t born in Gander. Writers David Hein and Irene Sankoff have created an intimate and engaging show that leaves the audience feeling like they have been blessed by the kindness that comes out in humans in a time of need.
The cast of 12 have become skilled multitaskers as they play multiple roles as townsfolk/passengers. Another testament to their performance is their ability to work like cogs in a machine, seamlessly transforming rows of chairs into the cabin of an airplane to the beloved local bar. The musical is only 100 minutes long with no interval but manages to get multiple stories across to the audience that doesn’t feel too short or brushed over.
In terms of performances, I would like to highlight Rachel Tucker and Jonathan Andrew Hume. Tucker’s performance as Captain Beverly Bass and others is a must see. The simple addition of a blazer is the only extra item Tucker needs to bring the character to life as the rest comes from her voice. It truly stands out in the only solo song of the musical, ‘Me and The Sky’, where she sings in an exaggerated Texan accent and hits all the notes. Hume, on the other hand, tackles two challenging roles, Kevin J, a gay man from New York and Ali, a Muslim chef. Hume gets to play comic relief and a reminder of the reality Muslims face day to day. Hume’s physicality completely changes to suit each character and keeps the audience completely silent during an act of vulnerability in the show.
Each cast member gets to shine as an unnamed passenger, my favourite moment is whenever Jenna Boyd who primarily plays Beulah gets to belt out Whitney Houston’s ‘My Heart Will Go On’. Having never really heard of the show before seeing it, I was pleasantly surprised. The music is dynamic and engaging. The music and voices echo through the theatre and you can feel the vibrations from the stomping. This musical definitely deserves it’s Olivier wins.
Come From Away is an inspirational show that represents the goodness that still exists in this world. In a time where racial tensions are still high and exist for some reason, this is a true story about the best in humanity. You enter the Phoenix Theatre as a ‘Come From Away’, but when you leave, ‘you are an islander’.
Come From Away is running at The Phoenix Theatre until 14th September 2019. You can buy tickets here: https://phoenix.londontheatres.co.uk/tickets/