3. Come From Away

Points – 136

Votes – 20

Firsts – 0

I think it is probably fair to say that this is the surprise package of this entire process.  Having only launched here in the UK last year, it hasn’t had much time to really sear itself into the consciousness of the general public, but has evidently had a huge impact on our members.

For those who are yet to see the show – or in some cases, possibly even heard of it – it takes place in the Canadian town of Gander, a small place that happens to have an enormous airport – a hangover from when trans-Atlantic flights needed a stop off point.  On the morning of September 11th 2001, there were many planes in the air that needed to be grounded soon, and as far away from major cities as possible, and as a result thirty-eight planes with around seven thousand passengers were required to land there.  The population of the town doubled overnight and with travel paused in the immediate aftermath, they needed to find a way to look after everyone.  The show deals with how the Canadian’s rise to the challenge, and the reactions of those stranded, using minimal staging and dual casting.  Oh, and the both the story, and the characters shown in the show are entirely real.

To create a show about something as recent and horrendous as the attack on the Twin Towers is a brave concept for the notoriously upbeat medium of musical theatre, but by focusing on a real human response, they manage it – and with an incredible amount of humour.  We went to see this last year, and I knew literally not a thing about it.  I found it one of the most moving things I have ever seen, but even then I spent a lot of time laughing through the tears.   I don’t even really want tell you most of the beats that it hits throughout that are so effective – I want you to go and experience them for yourselves!  Be blown away by this magic show.

I can’t even spend time telling you about the writers.  Irene Sankoff and David Kein are a husband and wife writing partnership with one prior credit to their name – “My Mother’s Lesbian Jewish Wiccan Wedding”.  At this stage in proceedings however, I am willing to let you know that this is not a show left to rank on this list.

So many of you have really struggled to come up with your definitive top ten, and that I something I really understand.  Mine also didn’t come easily – I started with a top forty and whittled down – and once you have an idea it is tough to order them.  My top two were Rent and Miss Saigon, and I was adamant about this from the start.  However as time went on, I had to start really questioning myself – are they really the two best shows I have ever seen, or are they just the two that I have had there for so long that I cannot bear to move them?  Entering this conversation in my head every time was this show, nagging at me that actually it is a feat of theatre that moved me to literal tears for its entire runtime, and if anything was going to change my own personal favourite musicals of all time, it really should be this.  Evidently, it did just that to many of our members.  It is testament to the progress of new theatre, and of musical theatre’s ability to continuously reinvent itself that a show such as this can gain such popularity in such a short period of time, and I cannot recommend a visit to the theatre to see this show enough once everything is up and running again.

Alex’s Song Choice – “In The Bar” and the rest of the bar sequence – raucous and funny and some brilliant character moments, however if you do not know this show at all, then can I recommend that you just listen to “Welcome To The Rock” and then go and see the show at the first opportunity.

Lockdown Pick – “Stop The World” – consider this one achieved.