Review Roundup: Did Critics Feel Welcomed to the Rock in the UK Premiere of COME FROM AWAY?
Come From Away officially opens in London tonight!
Telling the remarkable true story of 7,000 stranded air passengers during the wake of 9/11, and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them, will be Jenna Boyd (Beulah and others), Nathanael Campbell (Bob and others), Clive Carter (Claude and others), Mary Doherty (Bonnie and others), Robert Hands(Nick, Doug and others), Helen Hobson (Diane and others), Jonathan Andrew Hume (Kevin J, Ali and others), Harry Morrison (Oz and others), Emma Salvo(Janice and others), David Shannon (Kevin T, Garth and others), Cat Simmons(Hannah and others) and Rachel Tucker (Beverley, Annette and others) with Mark Dugdale, Bob Harms, Kiara Jay, Kirsty Malpass, Tania Mathurin, Alexander McMorran, Brandon Lee Sears and Jennifer Tierney.
This joyous new musical recounts the incredible true story of how the residents of Gander, Newfoundland welcomed the passengers of planes from around the world. Cultures clashed, and nerves ran high, but as uneasiness turned into trust, music soared into the night and gratitude grew into enduring friendships.
Come From Away is produced in the UK and Ireland by Junkyard Dog Productions and Smith & Brant Theatricals. The European premiere of Come From Away will be co-produced with The Abbey Theatre, Ireland's National Theatre.
Let's see what the critics had to say!
Marianka Swain, BroadwayWorld: "You'd do the same" is the modest response of the compassionate Gander residents, waving away thanks and offers of payment. Would I? Would you? It's a question that increasingly defines our morally turbulent times. For this and so many other reasons, Come From Away is this year's must-see musical.
Mark Shenton, London Theatre: It's a show with an impact that's difficult to describe: it feels like it creeps up on you unawares, before flooring you with emotion. I was just overwhelmed - and judging by the cheers and tears on the opening night, most of the audience seemed to be, too.
Michael Billington, The Guardian: The songs, which have a folk-rock feel, are good and Christopher Ashley's direction and Kelly Devine's musical staging ingeniously use rearranged chairs to evoke both a suffocating plane cabin and the diverse spaces opened to the visitors: there is one heartstopping moment when the passengers, hitherto kept in the dark about events in New York, gaze in silent horror at TV images of the Twin Towers. In a 12-strong ensemble, there are also striking performances from Rachel Tucker as a trailblazing female pilot, Robert Hands and Helen Hobson as loners who find love in unlikely circumstances and Jenna Boyd and Cat Simmons as two women united by maternal anxiety. The show could hardly be better done even if, as a work of art, I found it lacking in complexity and argument.
Paul Taylor, Independent: The 12-strong cast in Christopher Ashley's taut production keep switching in a trice between playing the locals, tirelessly scrambling to cope with the lunatic logistics (the piece is pleasingly alive to the comedy of disproportion) and the distraught "plane people" trapped on board for up to 30 hours with no outside communication.
Dominic Maxwell, The Times: See the show in the West End, though, and it takes all of ten seconds to be in its generous embrace. You stay there for the next 100 minutes: laughing, tapping your foot, wiping away tears, feeling good about humanity - what a rare, welcome feeling that is these days - without ever feeling you're just being sold gloopy musical-theatre good cheer.
Stefan Kyriazis, Express: The performance are uniformly excellent but Rachel Tucker shines as the pilot Beverley (the history-making first US airlines female pilot) and Cat Simmons has the most gorgeous voice and brings real pain to Hannah, the mother desperately waiting for news of her firefighter son in New York.