Human beings are capable of great things and this (and especially) during the worst crisis. Come From Away is a painting driven by this statement that smooth our souls as much as our ears. We’re at the Phoenix Theatre for over an hour and half of astonishment. SPOILER ALERT LEVEL 5/5
Let’s get back to one of the darkest time of modern history: the 11th of September 2001 and the attacks on New York’s World Trade Center. Everyone there and conscious that day knows where they were and what they were doing. I was just back from school and I was trying to understand why my mum was so shocked… I understood quickly.
Some of us, however, were in planes, all around the world, and ignored, at the time, what was going on underneath them. The Operation Yellow Ribbon just started and grounded planes that needed to land immediately, sometimes as far away from their destination as from their departure. That’s what happened for 7000 passengers of 38 flights arriving that day in Gander, Canada.
Come From Away is the story of this city, suddenly becoming shelter to these terrified travellers who became refugees during this astonishing week which changed the world forever. Fear was growing in everyone’s heart because of too much information for Gander’s inhabitants, and of a lack of information for the travellers stuck in the planes grounded on the Canadian island.
It is an ode to solidarity that resonates through the travellers’ true stories going from fear to uncertainty to surprise to anger and then to comfort and gratitude. The true word here, though, is kindness. With warm songs and immensely intense notes, this musical is a full pack of emotions showing the best (and worst at times) of humanity.
We notice some solos like Me and the Sky, for Beverley Bass, played by Rachel Tucker here in London, that tells the success of American Airlines first female captain. True and legendary all at once, it makes us shiver. It is, however, the songs sang by the whole company that touch us the most like the upbeat Welcome to the Rock, 38 Planes, On the Edge and Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere before the great finale. Fair, tender, and moving, it is a lot of work that we admire here.
If it isn’t the greatest, the brightest or the most impressive musical we’ve seen, it’s simplicity is everything. It is deserving of all the attention it gets. Now, we’d love to see the solidarity become viral and have people help each other and help, hopefully, the planet as well.