Before I begin, let me say this, I see a lot of theater, a lot. But rarely do I see a show more than once. I have seen this one three times, so far. If you are on the fence about seeing this show, or have ever considered seeing this show then stop and go buy your tickets right now, you can come back and finish this review afterwards. I’m patient and can wait for you to finish… Done? Good.
Now, the show Come From Away is about the small town of Gander, Newfoundland and the residents there on the fateful day of 9/11. However this show is not the over dramatic, trying too hard to pull on your heart strings musical. This show is truly moving.
The show follows the residents of Gander and how they “welcomed in the world” on the ill-fated day of 9/11. Once the American airspace was shut down, 38 planes and 7,000 people were diverted to the tiny town of Gander, Newfoundland, because as the shows says, “If anything is to happen, there’s a lot less people to deal with,” and it is from this that the show grows. The writing cleverly weaves together both the good and bad of the following week. The jokes in the show keep a smile on your face, but there is also no shortage of moments that make your hair stand on end and heart reach out for each of the characters. You feel every emotion that each of these characters feel, because of the writing yes, but also because of the amazing 12 person ensemble that makes up all of the different people in this small town.
The staging by director Christopher Ashley and choreographer Kelley Divine is true genius. They skillfully make use of 12 actors, 12 chairs, and 3 tables as the main set pieces for this show. Through this simple approach, they are able to create all of the places and scenes that this piece requires.
The onstage band plays an equally important role in the story. Members of the band join the cast during several moments of the show, adding another exciting aspect to the show. Perhaps one of the better moments is when the band takes the stage after the final curtain call, and plays a well written medley of the songs of the show, with the audience on their feet clapping along.
However if this was not enough to persuade you to come and see this show, then this is what I say to you; there is a moment in this show when before the lights come up at the end, and the world of this show is tucked away, that you will truly realize what you just saw. It is for this moment above the rest that one must see this show.
Come From Away is currently playing at Seattle Repertory Theater now through December 20.