Name: Come From Away
Location: London West End, Phoenix Theatre
Viewing Year: 2020
A 9/11 musical inspired by real stories of how Newfoundland in Gander welcomed and homed thousands of diverted passengers after the World Trade Centre disaster was entertaining and educational.
Even though the concept behind the musical concentrates on the tragedy of 9/11, it came across as a feelgood musical. This musical asks you for one thing, to completely allow yourself to submerge with the flow of slightly crazy friendship of the town. The music supports the drama delivering a rollercoaster of emotions as the aftermath of the disaster unfolds in front of our eyes. The set and staging is basic but creative switching location to location by moving chairs.
The musical focuses on how a Canadian island of Newfoundland coped with the sudden arrival of 38 planes full of traumatised passengers after the American airspace suddenly closes after the 9/11 attack. I was listening to this soundtrack before the show and have to be said, it’s emotional and raw. Perfect reflection on the true aftermath of the attack.
When the attack happened the world’s eyes we’re on the tragic scenes of the World Trade Centre, it was interesting to see the reactions of such a diverse group of people. I was very young when the attack happened back in 2001 and cannot really remember it very well, but the impact shown in this musical is unforgettable.
Although nothing really happened for a very long time in Newfoundland after the attack, we see friendships forged and tested, with people’s view and religion clearly highlighted during this tense time. We see an unlikely romantic storyline between an English man and a woman from Texas which fell nothing short of entertaining.
9/11 tragedy is known today has the attack that unleashed wars around the world. So many walls were put up and people didn’t know who to trust. In Come From Away we see a struggling character named Ali, who is a Muslim, who has to deal with comments and looks from other people as he proves himself not to be a terrorist because of his faith. This was a strong message against racism; I can only imagine how difficult it was for people in different faiths after 9/11. Later scenes show the community starting to accept all different faiths and religions.
The actors doubled up on characters throughout the story going from passenger to Newfoundlander with a change of a hat, coat or prop. This worked extremely well and not confusing at all. The use of different accents and how they carried themselves as different characters made it clear who we were watching on the stage.
The musical itself felt very fast paced allowing you to fully understand the panic and how crazy it all was around that time. I think this musical could dive a little deeper into some characters, like Ali maybe getting a solo about his struggles in particular, allowing the musical to be full length with a interval.
Some of the storylines throughout aim to bring tears to your eyes, goosebumps to your skin and so much shock that your jaw will drop. I found it extremely educational seeing the aftermath of the attack through so many different people’s eyes – so many different people’s stories.