Every once in a while you go and watch a show and realise you have stumbled across theatre gold. Wednesday 6th of March was once such day. Squirreld away in London’s West End, the pheonix theatre is now home to the small musical that packs a massive punch.
Come from Away, has just been nominated for 9, yup 9 Olivier Awards and it is clear to see why. The 100 minute show follows the story of the people of Gander in Newfoundland, Canada who on the day of the 9/11 terror attacks had 38 planes rerouted to their tiny town after US airspace was closed. The town’s population more than doubled as they took in 7000 frightened, confused and homesick travellers and tried to make them feel they were at home every though they were in the middle of nowhere.
The show works seamlessly, which is an incredible feat with just 12 cast members taking on a variety of different roles and limited pieces of set transporting you from the planes to the shelters, to the local bar where everyone knows everyone’s name.
This is truly an amazing piece of ensemble work but the stand out for me has to be Rachel Tucker. Rachel slips between roles effortlessly but the role that most struck a cord with the audience is when she plays American Airlines pilot Beverly who was also the first ever female pilot of the USA. Separated from her family, Beverley is devastated that the very thing she fell in love with, flying and planes, is the very thing used to insight pain and destruction. Me and the Sky is a truly powerful song about how she became to be the first female pilot.
Packed in the 100 minute show are a variety of themes that it tackles including race, religion, sexuality, gender, acceptance and hate this is a piece that will leave you with a lot to think about even after you’ve left the theatre. I thought it was extremely powerful seeing people turn their backs on certain passengers based on their religion/race because their fear and uncertainty took over.
Come From Away is one to surely make the history books. It will make you laugh, it will make you cry and it will restore your faith in humanity. Everyone leaves that theatre an islander.