Come From Away1Budweiser Gardens in London was recently transformed into a slice of Newfoundland, as the musical “Come From Away” made its much-anticipated stop. This isn’t your typical musical; it’s a rich tapestry that weaves together the true story of more than 7,000 9/11 stranded passengers in Gander, Newfoundland, with the town’s legendary hospitality. The illustrious musical runs until Saturday (Nov. 25).

“Come From Away” excels in its portrayal of the human spirit’s resilience and generosity. The stories of the stranded passengers and the townsfolk intertwine, creating an emotional yet uplifting narrative. It’s a show that serves up life’s realities with a side of Newfie warmth and wit.

 

In a remarkable display of theatrical versatility, the twelve-member cast, including Danny Arnold (Oz & Others), Kathleen Cameron (Bonnie & Others), Trey DeLuna (Kevin J. / Ali & Others), Addison Garner (Beverley & Others), Andrew Hendrick (Claude & Others), Hannah Kato (Janice & Others), Kristin Litzenberg (Beulah & Others), Stanton Morales (Nick & Others), Candace Alyssa Rhodes (Hannah & Others), Molly Samson (Diane & Others), Jason Tyler Smith (Bob & Others), and Shawn W. Smith (Kevin T./Garth & Others), shifted between multiple roles with the ease of a Newfie changing gears on a fishing boat. Their performances captured the essence of Gander’s residents, from the humorous to the heartfelt.

The staging and set design, though minimal, cleverly evoked the rugged charm of Newfoundland, allowing the audience to focus on the powerful stories and characters. The use of simple props and lighting effectively transported the audience to various locations across Gander.

Despite the challenge of condensing such a significant event into a brief runtime, the production successfully balanced the pace, ensuring that each character’s story was given its due. The result is a show that’s as nourishing to the spirit as a hearty plate of Cod Au Gratin.

The musical’s heart, however, lies in the ensemble numbers that beautifully capture the community spirit. “Blankets and Bedding,” a song about the town’s efforts to accommodate the ‘plane people,’ showcases the town’s unhesitating and generous response to the crisis. This number, with its harmonious blend of voices, underscores the theme of unity in adversity. Similarly, “Somewhere in the Middle of Nowhere,” another poignant piece, reflects the emotional turmoil of the stranded passengers and the unexpected solace they find in Gander. The song is a testament to the show’s ability to convey deep emotions while maintaining a sense of hope.

The band, often visible on stage, not only plays the music but becomes part of the storytelling, their presence blurring the line between musicians and actors. Their performance is reminiscent of a Newfoundland ‘kitchen party,’ where music is a communal experience, shared and enjoyed by all. The score of “Come From Away” isn’t just heard; it’s felt – a rhythm that beats in tandem with the story, drawing the audience into the heart of Newfoundland and the extraordinary tale of Gander.

In “Come From Away,” the music does more than just accompany the action; it tells a story of its own, capturing the spirit of a community and the resilience of the human heart. It’s a vivid reminder of how, in times of uncertainty, comfort can often be found in the universal language of music.

In essence, “Come From Away” is more than a musical; it’s a cultural embrace, a reminder of the good that emerges in challenging times. This show is not just entertainment; it’s a heartwarming testament to the indomitable spirit of Newfoundlanders and the universal power of kindness.

Tickets are available at the Budweiser Gardens box office.

 

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