Come From Away

A musical that radiates warmth and the good in humanity, showing that kindness costs nothing and in the darkest of moments, can shine a well needed light.

I’ve been lucky enough to see Come From Away two previous times in the West End, so to see this particular show venturing out into the regions, I couldn’t pass on the opportunity of seeing this life affirming show in my hometown at the Birmingham Hippodrome. The story centres around the 9/11 tragedy and what happened to 38 planes that had to divert to Newfoundland and descend on a small town called Gander. The whole community rally round to make sure that no-one feels alone and that everyone is provided for. We get a glimpse into the lives of various people from all over the world who were transported to a place of refuge, and the residents who looked after them without a second thought. One of the greatest shows of humanity, love and kindness that we could definitely do with more of in this life.

The opening number ‘Welcome to the Rock’ sets the scene as we learn about the people of Gander going about their everyday lives, before it was changed in the blink of an eye. I would class this song as a ‘rouser’, with an infectious beat and well constructed lyrics (Irene Sankoff & David Hein), which was echoed by the prolonged applause as it concluded. That is the way to open a show!

There are so many musical highlights in this show all performed magnificently by the onstage band under the musical direction of Andrew Corcoran. With a mix of folk and Gaelic music, there are some definite toe tapping moments especially during ‘Screech In’ where to become a true Islander you must kiss the fish! Sara Poyzer wowed with her rendition of ‘Me and the Sky’ and to be able to sing with that much power whilst sitting during the first half of the song leaves me quite speechless!

Every single member of the cast work tirelessly throughout this 100 minute show which has no interval. The choreography (Richard J Hinds) is slick and moves the story along at pace. The staging and lighting (Kelly Devine & Howell Binkley) are integral in the storytelling of this piece, transporting us in and out of one of the planes, into the neighbourhood Tim Hortons and the local bar.

There are moments of humour, which are a welcome relief from the utter terror that these people and their families must have been going through. The book, written by Irene Sankhoff & David Hein deals with the stark reality of loss, tragedy, fear and has a common thread of how, if a community pulls together, the experience can seem a little less scary. Every emotion is visible on stage, played out beautifully by such a wonderful and talented cast.

If you’ve never seen Come From Away, please try and get yourself a ticket as this tour heads around the country. It is heartfelt, heart-warming, touching and completely life affirming. So stick a pin in the map of where you would like to see the show and be anxious for nothing…..words which seems very apt.

I am, and always will be an Islander! 💙💛  

This show was reviewed on the 21st May 2024 at Birmingham Hippodrome where it runs until the 1st June 2024.  Tickets available here: Come From Away – Birmingham Hippodrome

Review written by Emma Rowley


Photo credit: Craig Sugden

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