On the 19th of February, the first show of the 2 show day was Come From Away. I’ll have to admit I’ve never been like OHMYGOD I HAVE to see this show as I have been with others but we booked to see it because I thought it was one I should see…but oh my god I LOVED it! The cast, the clever sets and the score! All amazing! I am so glad I booked tickets because it is such a wonderful show!
If you don’t know the story of Come From Away, it is the true story of the planes diverted to Gander in Newfoundland after the planes crashed into the twin towers in 9/11. Gander normally has a population of 10,000 that almost doubled overnight to around 16000 with all of the plane passengers, which when you think about it is pretty incredible. In the wake of this disaster, any of Gander’s community buildings such as churches, schools and salvation army camps were all converted into shelters for the plane passengers. The communities of Newfoundland and Labrador were named one of the ten friendliest cultures in the world and watching this musical it is not hard to see why.
I adored this musical so much when I really wasn’t expecting to! It’s impossible not to get swept up with this gorgeous story of people helping others in times of need. The people of Gander let these stranded passengers into their houses with open arms which were really nice to hear about in a time where sometimes the world isn’t so nice.
The cast for this show were all so talented, all of the cast play two roles, one being the residents of Gander and the other being plane passengers…some even played three roles! Before seeing the show I was worried about that being confusing and hard to follow but there was not one moment where I was confused. In fact, the way that they changed between the people from Gander to Plane Passengers and vice versa was quite clever and subtle, consisting of costume changes and sometimes nothing physical just changing the accents. All of the cast were so talented! The way all of them acted through the songs was incredible, whilst the stories were all true (yup, even including the bit about the rare bonobo chimpanzees!), you forgot that the people on stage weren’t the people who had gone through this trauma because they told it so well and respectfully.
The set for this musical is one of the simplest I’ve ever seen, just consisting of about 12 chairs, 3 tables and a revolve, which doesn’t sound like much but it is used perfectly to the point where I think if they had a bigger and more flashy set I think that the magic and the intimacy of this show would be lost.
This show has a really moving score with moments like ‘I Am Here’ about a mum whose son is a firefighter in New York during 9/11 and who she hasn’t been able to contact. Sung by Cat Simmons who did an incredible job at singing whilst pulling on our heartstrings. Another memorable song is ‘Me and the Sky’ sung by Alice Fearn it is the song that Beverly sings about how she dreamed about being the first female pilot in US airline history as a kid; then about how she achieved that dream and it was a real uplifting moment within the show.
This show also has great ensemble songs; ‘Screech In’ where the plane passengers become honorary Newfoundlanders. ‘Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere’ where the plane people are on their way back to the states and they decide to raise money to say thank you to the people of Gander for their troubles. ‘Blankets and Bedding’ which shows the people of Gander getting ready to hold all of these people in their small town, it’s such an upbeat and happy song which shows how willing and how much that they did for them. The finale which features the main ‘Welcome to the Rock’ theme but also talks about the plane people returning to Gander throughout the years and it’s a really nice moment where we see them reunite which warms your heart when you remember it’s a true story.
I LOVED this! I wasn’t expecting much but this is such a beautiful story that it is impossible not to love. Despite being about an international disaster it is such a happy musical which restores your faith in humanity! I only wish I saw it sooner! I hope that I get to go to the rock again soon!!
If you have read this review and would like to visit The Rock, kiss the fish and become a Newfoundlander you can get tickets to Come From Away Here!