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BWW Review: COME FROM AWAY at Comedy Theatre

Come From Away soars stunningly and spectacularly back into Melbourne's East End!

BWW Review: COME FROM AWAY at Comedy Theatre
Photo by Jeff Busby

Come From Away soars stunningly and spectacularly back into Melbourne's East End! It will leave you weeping, laughing and hugging your loved ones... all in a COVID safe way of course! What a joy to get to experience musical theatre in Australia's theatre capital again and what a great show to start it all back off again!

Come From Away relives the real life story of how small-town Gander, in Newfoundland, unexpectedly played host to 7,000 stranded passengers and crew from 38 planes when the US airspace was closed on September 11, 2001. Originally workshopped in 2012 and premiering on Broadway in 2017, it received seven Tony nominations and one win for Christopher Ashleys superb direction. In 2019 after a North American tour it landed on The West End winning 4 Olivier nominations and then began its Australian tour which was cut short at the hands of COVID-19.

The best part of having this Show back is that it is more relevant in 2021 than ever before. When I first saw the Show on Broadway in 2018 the #MeToo movement brought new context to the musical on top of the already poignant 9/11 themes. Now in 2021, the #BlackLivesMatter movement, current COVID-19 worldwide pandemic and recent disturbing storming of the United States Capitol add even more contextual layers. Irene Sankoff and David Heins beautiful book, music and lyrics will bring new laughs and tears to your eyes. Lines, like the following, have new meaning in 2021 and will send shivers down your spine... "Suddenly there's something in between me and the sky", "But somehow I can't sleep, so I sit down and turn on the television and I just start crying, I hadn't let myself cry the whole time" and "On the way to my restaurant I drop my daughter at school, but she won't go in, she says she's scared, what do I tell her ?",

Come From Away features 12 ensemble actors who play multiple characters to help bring the real life stories of Gander locals and stranded passengers and crew to life. The whole ensemble is exceptionally passionate and energetic and their joy to be back on stage is infectious. Zoe Gertz is sensational as the first female American Airlines female pilot Beverley Bass. She perfectly paints Bass' life story in "Me and the Sky" with a sincere, poignant and emotionally vulnerable performance which is full of heart . The rest of the ensemble are equally impressive with Sharriese Hamilton as Hannah and Others ,Douglas Hansell as Kevin T and Others, Kolby Kindle as Bob and Others, Phillip Lowe as Nick & Others, Simon Maiden as Oz & Others, Sarah Morrison as Janice & Others, Joseph Naim as Kevin J & Others, Emma Powell as Beulah & Others, Kellie Rode as Bonnie & Others, Gene Weygandt as Claude & Others, and Angela Kennedy as Diane & Others.

The onstage band lead by musical director Luke Hunter, who also plays Keyboard, Harmonium & Accordion are the other delight of this production. The blissful performances of Dave Peck on Drums & Percussion, Caleb Garfinkel on Mandolin, Acoustic Guitar & Bouzouk, Tim Hartwig on Electric, Acoustic & Nylon Guitars, Matthew Horsley on Whistles, Irish Flute & Uilleann Pipes, James Kempster on Electric & Acoustic Bass, Xani Kolac on Fiddle and Ben Smart on Bodhrán & Percussion all add to the character's emotional journeys and help bring Gander's musical atmosphere to life. A particular highlight of the show is when the band takes centre stage with the ensemble to perform "Screech In".

Come from Away is well worth seeing in 2021 and is something you won't regret. For more information and to purchase tickets visit comefromaway.com.au/


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From This Author Josh Stent