'Come From Away'; a review.

On Tuesday 5th of February, I was lucky enough to be able to see ‘Come From Away’, a brilliant new musical that’s just landed in London! 

This show tells the story of the people flying over America on the 11th of September 2001, who had their journeys drastically derailed and ended up landing somewhere very unexpected... 

'This joyous new musical shares the incredible real-life story of the 7,000 air passengers from all over the world that became grounded in Canada during the wake of 9/11, and the small Newfoundland community that invited these ‘come from aways’ into their lives. 

As uneasiness turned into trust and music soared into the night, gratitude grew into friendships and their stories would become a celebration of hope, humanity and unity.'
(From the Box Office)

This show landed in the Phoenix Theatre – an old favourite of mine, y’know – on the 30th of January. After storming through the US and Canada, to say its arrival in London was excitedly anticipated would be understating it, massively. 

I jumped on the hype and found myself actually listening to the soundtrack BEFORE seeing the show, something I swear I NEVER do for fear of spoilers (spoiler: the soundtrack contains many spoilers, but they’re charming spoilers sung to catchy tunes, so) and grabbing at all the info I could find. Imagine my intrigue when I discovered it’s only 100 minutes long, with no interval!? I haven’t seen a show of that length since American Idiot in 2016 – and I won’t lie, that was one of many things I loved about it; no late nights and no arguments with yourself about whether or not you really need a charmingly tiny pot of £5 ice cream in the interval? WIN! 

Oh my goodness, this was definitely the best new musical I have seen in a very long time. It was gorgeous, funny, genuinely moving and truly fascinating. Also, very cleverly done; the cast were pretty much constantly on stage, moving around each other and changing  seemingly effortlessly  from one character to another, one story to the next. It was just so slick, but also incredibly sweet. Every cast member worked their socks off, sang their heart out, and made some magic. 

Of course, I don't think one should pick favourite cast members, but I need to give a couple of special shout-outs. The first has to be Cat Simmons, playing the gorgeous mother Hannah, constantly checking the phone(s) for news of her family, specifically her firefighter son who she fears was working that day in New York. Wow, she tugged on my heart (and my guts, and my tear ducts), and I think I cared ever so slightly more about her story than any of her fellow Come From Aways. Although I did LOVE Nick and Diane (who by the way are real humans with a Twitter account, oh god?!). 

The second is for the queen, Rachel Tucker, playing real life badass Captain Beverley Bass, while also being Gander citizen Annette. She swapped roles throughout so brilliantly; switching seamlessly from a Canadian volunteer with a hilarious crush on a (quite possibly imaginary) grounded pilot, and an actual captain who's been forced to land her flight from Paris to Dallas, and is now desperately missing her family... and the sky. 

I've seen Rachel play Elphaba before, and so obviously the standards I'd unintentionally set for her in my own head were HIGH. And obviously, she met them immediately and pushed them even higher, especially when she sang her beautiful life story/love song about her journey to being a fully fledged female pilot (she had me fist pumping quietly from the stalls). 

The songs were magnificent. The choreography (Richard J Hinds) was fabulous. The set was perfectly simple and so, so effective. The characters were so real and true and loveable. Irene Sankoff and David Hein really did make something so special here, and I hope it continues to fly and touch down in new places all around the world. 

I can definitely see this becoming the next big thing in the West End, you know. I saw a Twitter Moment on my way home last night filled with nothing but joy, praise and excitement; people saying it's the best thing they've seen in ages, that it's what we need at this difficult time on planet earth, and that it should run and run and run, because it's so different and so brilliant.  

(© Matthew Murphy)

Get yourselves tickets at From the Box Office ASAP, and become an Islander!
But hurry, tickets are selling fast (only 5% left for the next week!?) and so far the show's only booking til September...

(me and my theatre date; emotionally exhausted, in a good way, leaving the theatre)

Take a moment to learn about the true stories in this show, too.


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