Review: COME FROM AWAY at Crown Theatre

Amazing true story warms hearts and leaves you with a smile

By: May. 10, 2023
Review: COME FROM AWAY at Crown Theatre

COME FROM AWAY is the heart warming true story of people opening their homes, lives and hearts to complete strangers as happened when many planes with thousands of passengers were diverted on September 11, 2001. Following a blockbuster East coast run (with a few diversions) it has finally landed in Perth to provide some feel-good and fun.

Whilst elaborate staging seems to be the benchmark for musicals, COME FROM AWAY wonderfully flips the idea with a minimalist set. A few chairs and tables are, at various points; an aeroplane, a cafe, a house, a church, and many more locations. This in itself is a brilliant part of the show, and the way the characters make it work seamlessly is one of many joys that COME FROM AWAY delivers. The movement of the characters (originally staged and choregraphed by Kelly Devine, delivered in Australia by Michael Ralph) is a spectacle in itself. Finding room to be on the stage throughout the show is the superb band (original musical supervision by Ian Eisendrath, led superbly here by Michael Tyack), and being on stage throughout they end up being dragged into the show at various points, and the talented band never miss a beat through their many movements and pieces.

Review: COME FROM AWAY at Crown Theatre

In a show where everything serves multiple purposes, it makes sense that this ensemble cast each take on many varied roles. WAAPA graduate Zoe Gertz makes a superb lynchpin of the show as Beverley. Gertz demands attention whatever she is doing and highlights all the strengths and weaknesses that a pilot thrust into that position would have. You can read more about Gertz and her journey with the show in my interview with her. Kyle Brown is sharp as New Yorker Bob, but comes to the fore as an African man whose memories of his home are stirred by the precision and pace of the help available. Brown's performance truly does highlight the best and worst of people. Manon Gunderson-Briggs (Janice) is excellent whilst Phillip Lowe (Nick) and Natalie O'Donnell (Diane) are delightfully awkward as a new couple scoping each other out in the strangest of circumstances among their other roles, whilst Sarah Nairne as Hannah serves as a heart wrenching reminder of what brought these people together in the first place as she desperately tries to contact her son, a New York firefighter. Emma Powell as teacher Beulah perfectly highlights the sort of person people would want in that situation, whilst David Silvestri as Mayor Claude highlights the complexities faced by a person in power navigating the sudden growth of their small town.

Whilst there is so much to love about COME FROM AWAY, it is hard not to go past the cohesion of the show. Characters, band members, props and sets move seamlessly between functions and roles with precision, but without interrupting the flow of the show. There is no pauses to explain the sudden changes as one character becomes another or one setting becomes another, yet each unique part is made clear by the immensely talented creatives. The show is heartwarming, poignant, and gives you plenty to reflect on as you leave with a smile on your face. The best of people is captured in COME FROM AWAY by the best of theatre.

COME FROM AWAY is at Crown Theatre until May 28th. Tickets and more information available from Come From Away Australia.

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I sit in the small field of miners who enjoy theatre. My love began when The Phantom of the Opera toured, and I dragged my new girlfriend along. Interest in one show became an interest in many, as the... David Bravos">(read more about this author)


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