Like TV shows I tell people they have to watch, Come From Away takes some getting used. Eventually, it cements itself as a strong modern musical. After about an hour to be exact.
After that point we finally see a breakthrough of light. The stories begin to cement, we feel a connection to the performers, we cry when their stories turn darker, and their humanity starts to resonate.
The cast are the highest level of triple threats. It is a shame that they are left with a weak narrative to draw their stage time from. Every harmony is perfect, but no song is memorable, every performance from actors and on stage musicians is competent and world class. Jeremy Carver-James, playing Kevin, is a shining example of the entire cast’s ability to fill multiple and diverse roles. He drifts between diverse characters with ease and grace. No accent falters, and every physicality has been workshopped and sculpted. Choreographically the show is also perfect. Small glimpses of physical theatre, particularly in the aircraft scenes, show us the passing of time in a way that is fresh and engaging. The dynamic but not overuse of the revolve also creates wonderful transitions.
Technically, the show is near faultless. We start a little quiet with the opening number not quite punching like you would expect in a theatre of this size, but after that every single lighting and sound cue is perfect. No actor misses their mark, the back transformation gauze is both beautiful, clever and multi-functioning and the wrapping of lighting stands to look like trees creates both an aesthetically pleasing set in such a tall venue, but also an accurate scene setting of the depths of a Canadian forest community.
The ending of the show is similar to the beginning, maybe it’s because we know how it ends. A show about 9/11 has little stones unturned, but there is no big reveal, no surprising twist. Five days after the story started and the airports simply open up again and life just goes on. It’s what you’d expect, but it is hardly the most emotive or interesting story about a day that changed the entire world forever.