BWW Review: COME FROM AWAY at The Abbey Theatre
The European Premiere of Come From Away
On September 11th 2001, whilst unimaginable horrors were unfolding on one island, on another island 1500 miles NE, an entire village rallied together opening their hearts and homes to help 7000 strangers.
Gander, Newfoundland is a Canadian Island in the Atlantic Ocean east of Quebec. Primely located between Europe and North America, it was formerly a refuelling stop for transatlantic flights.
On that fateful day, Gander's population almost doubled with the arrival 38 civilian and 4 military flights - safely diverted from US airspace. And so the tale begins with the Gander residents achieving the seemingly impossible. For 6 solid days and nights they worked selflessly to feed, accommodate, reassure and entertain 7000 stranded passengers. Amongst the countless stories of bravery, sacrifice, resilience and camaraderie across the globe on 9/11, this story of Gander is a simple blueprint for the unfathomable depths of human kindness.
Writers, lyricists & composers, Irene Sankoff and David Hein have immortalized this luminous slice of history in their magnificent musical Come From Away. An uplifting and timely reminder of the quintessential goodness of man.
The creative team's decision to peel away every superfluous theatrical trimming is a masterstroke. A cast of 12 represent 17000 residents and passengers. The set is an entirely neutral canvas as it transitions effortlessly from runway to town hall, airport hangar to pub. The props are 12 chairs, and a discreet band of dexterous musicians encircle the periphery. There were simply no distractions with our focus solely on the raw human emotions and the milk of human kindness. Undeniable proof that no pizzazz is required for theatrical magic.
Twelve stellar actors skillfully morph from Gander resident to international passenger. Every actor totally engages in each of their multiple character roles. It was abundantly clear that they were loving this experience which added tremendously to our enjoyment. In 100 minutes we were privy to dozens of memorable tales of resilience, hope, love and loss as we catapulted through a whole gamut of emotions. I know I was not alone choking back my tears. The music and lyrics were an integral part of the storyline, seamlessly knitting together the tale. And yes, I did purchase the soundtrack right afterwards.
It is indeed an honour for Dublin to host the European premiere of this outstanding production and in true form the Abbey Theatre pulled out all the stops to ensure a highly successful launch.
If there is one show for all the family to see this Christmas season, THIS IS IT! Feast on this smorgasbord of compassion, generosity and kindness. It will appeal to the very best in your nature and as with our friend the Grinch, you will find your heart growing a few sizes larger.