Come From Away

This was one I booked a while ago, it came to the stage in London after playing to audiences across North America for 3 years. I was early to my seat so had a good chat to a couple of people sat around me. My neighbour was last in, still in plenty of time, he was to prove a very interesting neighbour!

When I put the name of the show in my diary I added a word – Come From Far Away, I presumed I’d left out a word. But having mentioned the show to a well travelled colleague I realised Come From Away was right, that’s how those in Newfoundland refer to those not from Newfoundland!

This is the tale of 5 days in September 2001, a momentous time in world history and for America in particular. Gander Airport in Newfoundland is an airport I’ve stopped at, only to allow an unwell passenger to leave the flight, but I have been there.

This show is about the 7,000 passengers and flight crew who found themselves diverted to Gander when the air space over America was closed after the awful happenings of 9/11. The airplane ‘people’ and the local people portrayed by an ensemble of 12 people.

My neighbour? Stephen Bowsher was, amazingly at Gander Airport that week, I can only imagine what watching this show was like through his eyes. Through mine, this was FANTASTIC! One of the best things I’ve seen on the stage, and I’ve seen a lot over the last year or so.

There wasn’t one stand out performance, this really was a whole ensemble thing and everyone played their part brilliantly. Those 5 days in Gander and the surrounding area showed the local people to be incredibly kind and welcoming. It’s definitely a tale that needed to be told and this production got that feeling across so well.

We saw relationships forming and in one case falling apart, as well as the wonderful singing there was also humour, but sadness too, that I won’t go into. Stephen remarkably is in one of the photos in the programme! Once all but the last plane had departed a photo was taken of those inolved on the ground on the steps to the plane. He’s also shared a photo of his ‘screeching in’ certificate signed by two of the people portrayed in the show! He couldn’t emphasise enough just how warm and amazing the locals were/are.

This is another MUST SEE from me, I suspect I’ll be going back for a second watch!

One thought on “Come From Away

  1. I agree it was a great show (although I might be a bit biased). Definitely brought a tear to my eye. I have always said you can’t fully appreciate the inate kindness and generosity of the Newfoundlanders from the outside but the show does a good job.
    I left Gander 3 months after 9/11 and I spent that time trying to convince the locals they had done something amazing. To a person they said ‘anyone woukd do it’. I think an award winning musical makes the point better than I did.
    I worked at the airport (mansging RAF aircraft transiting eastern Canada) so I spent the crisis in the airport operations centre. After 20 years in the military serving in 7 areas considered operational theatres or war zones I still say the most competent management of a crusis I have ever seen was in Gander on 9/11.


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