This musical based on a remarkable true story is a celebration of humanity at its best.
September 11th 2001. We all remember exactly where we were and what we were doing on that horrific day when terrorists crashed into the twin towers in New York. But what many people may not remember or know about is the story of 7000 people on planes also flying on that day being grounded in a small town in Canada and its surrounding communities in the wake of 9/11. This is the story told in the compassionate and beautiful musical Come From Away.
Telling the stories of all those who were caught up in this unexpected situation, this refreshing and heartfelt musical leaves audiences with a restored faith in humanity and the power of compassion.
Directed with great warmth and sincerity by Christopher Ashley, from the rousing number ‘Welcome to the Rock’ all the way through to more heartfelt songs such as ‘I Am Here’, the production is sharp and slickly choreographed that offers real depth and insight into the numerous characters and their situation – highlighted perfectly during the ’38 Planes’ sequence. What emerges from the show overall is a story of love, compassion and community spirit that engages the audience’s attention from beginning to end.
Irene Sankoof and David Hein’s book, music and lyrics all work in great harmony to offer a show that as well as being a fascinating story to watch unfold, offers a real voice to all those whose story hasn’t really been acknowledged properly. Everythingis a mixture of humour when you least expect it mixed with sincerity in the way in which each character is given their moment to tell their story.
As well as showing humanity at its best, Come From Away explores how unexpected situations like this can help people set aside their differences and come together as a whole, highlighted as the community begins to gather supplies for all those who are stranded in their town or when the characters offer comfort to each other.
Given that there are plenty of stories to be told, the cast all play numerous roles – but the audience never has any problem distinguishing who is who at any given moment as each character is given such a distinctive personality. In particular, Jonathan Andrew Hume as Kevin is sharp and sassy but is equally enjoyable to watch as Ali – a character who is feared by some of the other passengers given the events of 9/11. It shows just how determined the show is to ensure that as many different personalities and backgrounds are covered.
Robert Hands also delights as the awkward but immensely likeable Nick, Cat Simmons as Hannah is a pleasure to watch with her rendition of ‘I Am Here’ proving to be a particularly emotional part of the show and Rachel Tucker offers a solid and controlled performance as Beverley. The entire cast put all of their heart and souls into their performances and work well together in bringing this story to life.
Come From Away is simple but effective storytelling at its very best. It feels like a true celebration of humanity, allowing you to leave the theatre with your faith in it restored.
By Emma Clarendon