Express & Star

Birmingham Hippodrome flying high with musical Come From Away

The horrors of 9/11 will remain etched in our minds and our hearts forever and is a piece of history we will never forget.

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The Come From Away cast

There are of course different ways of keeping its memory alive, and theatre is one of them.

Amid all the misery and desolation associated with such a tragic event, a tiny light shines in the form of the musical Come From Away, which is currently enjoying rave reviews on its UK tour. This week the cast has landed at the Birmingham Hippodrome.

The show is a unique, contemporary musical depicting the experiences of some of the travellers stranded when their aeroplanes were diverted because of the tragedy. Modern it may be, yet it still manages to retain the emotions and sentiments of a much more traditional piece.

The inhabitants of Gander, a tiny town in Newfoundland and Labrador, opened their homes and indeed their hearts to the passengers who were stranded, miles away from home as a result of planes being diverted when terrorists struck in New York City and beyond.

But please don’t think this show is a total tear-jerker. Far from it in fact, as human instinct is generally to see the funny side, no matter how hopeless the situation seems, and so a vein of comedy runs through the whole proceedings, which leaves you crying with sadness one minute and pure abandoned laughter the next.

The simple but effective set, the understated costumes and the limited use of props, I am sure are all designed so that they do not detract from the characters and the stories contained within the musical numbers. It really is a case of less is more.

The Come From Away cast

The score features a mix of folk music, pop, and ballads, some of which made you want to clap, stomp your feet and join in, while at the end of some of the songs you could hear a pin drop, such are the feelings they evoke.

Christopher Ashley’s direction is breathtakingly precise and it is obvious how much research was undertaken. He has created a wonderfully open, all-encompassing piece of theatre which will challenge and inspire in equal measure.

The delivery of the script in song is swift and together with organic choreography and seamless movement of props by the cast, the whole production is slick and exceptionally efficient in its execution.

Without a doubt the performance of the night must go to West End star Sara Poyzer as Beverley whose rendition of 'Me and the Sky' surprisingly moved me to tears.

Other stand out performances included Rosie Glossop as Bonnie and Daniel Crowder as Nick, who together perfectly create the essence of love in later life, while Bree Smith has Hannah is every inch the desperate mother trying to locate her son, a firefighter in New York.

Her song 'I Am Here' made every mother in the audience feel her anguish and pain. Last but certainly not least, a special mention must go to the seven-strong folk band of the highest quality who drive the show along with pace and force. Their brief appearance at the end of the night quite rightly brought the house down and fittingly marked the end of a very special evening.

At just 1hr:40mins with no interval Come From Away will provoke your thoughts and restore your faith in human kindness. After all, when the chips are really down, we all pull together. Don’t we?

It it running until from May 21- June 1.

To book tickets visit or call 0844 338 5000.

Rating: Five stars

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