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On 11th September 2001, air traffic was grounded as the USA came under attack by terrorists. As planes diverted, 7000 passengers were stranded in a tiny town in Newfoundland.
How the town coped and bonds formed is the basis of this hit Broadway musical, now coming to London.
Seen at the afternoon performance on 20th February 2019. Some actors have now left the cast.
Another quirky but meaningful musical for the Phoenix Theatre. Ordinary lives collide thanks to extraordinary inhumanity. This show very much re-balances that, in a heart-warmingly downbeat fashion.
The townsfolk of Gander, numbering around 7000, provide instant and comprehensive aid for 7000 people stranded for almost a week in their remote area of the world. From the start of just another day, the story winds through initial news heard both on the ground and in the air, to the late night dispersal of travellers among various hastily commandeered shelters. From there, a beautifully realised "breakthrough in communications" leads to the tale of the rest of the week, though the eyes of those on both sides, residents and unexpected guests.
Major characters simply are. Nothing is forced, it's all just folk telling their stories and becoming one with the audience. A cast of 12 play multiple roles, to impressive effect. Particular stand-outs are Beulah (Jenna Boyd), Clive Carter (Claude), Helen Hobson (Diane) and Nathanael Campbell (Bob). To explain more about each of them would spoil totally the encounters. Suffice to say that each makes a huge impact - and the entire cast deserve praise for both characterisation and restrained energy that keeps the whole thing credible.
There's some strong moments in the score - "Me and the Sky" a highlight, and Kelly Devine's staging is a mixture of theatrical tricks and rough edges matching the improvisation the show tries to capture. Christopher Ashley's direction allows each cast member to dig deep into not only their own character and relationships, but also into how they relate to other characters and the situation itself. Indeed, the monkey found itself wondering at times how it would have reacted and fitted into events.
A little slow to truly engage perhaps, but once the scene is set and events move forward, the days fly and the audience leaves feeling that they too were once in a small place for a life-changing time. Touching and truthful, this show is unmissable.
5 stars, standing ovation.
Important: Some reviews below can contain "spoilers" - please don't read if this bothers you!
'Many years ago, I stopped over at Gander. When I visited in the early 90s it was at the end of it’s time as “The World’s Refuelling Station”. I guess it was large enough to handle perhaps 3 aircraft comfortably? The town that gives it’s name to the airport is also small, back then it would have had around 10,000 inhabitants.
When the horror of 9/11 struck, Gander became host to 38 aircraft, depositing 7,000 tired, confused and frightened passengers in their laps. What happened next is the story told in Come From Away as the people of Gander (and neighbouring towns) opened their homes, lives and hearts to their unexpected guests.
When the curtains opened and I saw the simple set, I was back in Newfoundland: The colours and shape of the tiling on the tall back wall dragged out memories from almost 30 years ago so vividly.
The storybook is created from quotes from thousands of interviews with passengers and townsfolk. The songs are folky in style (perfectly matched to the story and the musical tradition of the Island). With so much happening, the show concentrates on a small number of key stories from both locals and passengers, overlaid on the developing story each day.
I’m trying not to give anything away, but I smile every time I think of this tale. Trapped for days, the passengers were getting bored. The Mayor of Appleton (neighbouring town) decided a cook-off would be the thing to do and sent his new houseguest “To go to people’s houses and take the grills from their yards”. Terrified he was going to be shot, he found “Everyone offered me a cup of tea, then helped me steal their own grills!”
To me, this sums up the mammoth efforts and even larger hearts of the people of Newfoundland, who just kept going for days without rest, caring for their guests. Over the course of 100 minutes (no interval, matching their ceaseless efforts) you are exposed to laughter, tears, anger, shock and joy. The show never lets up in pace or intensity for a moment.
I have never seen an audience react like they did to Come From Away. As the final note faded, the audience rose as one, bursting into an emphatic standing ovation… and the “I am an Islander” badges given out at the end were immediately added to coats with pride. I was so pleased the band got their own moment at curtain call; they're really, really talented and the audience appreciated the chance to thank them.
This is a special piece of theatre; “A show about making sandwiches” (direct quote from the Mayor of Gander) is a truly glorious story of compassion. Do not miss it.
Grand Circle, G11 and 12. What a difference a seat makes. I was in G12. From there I had a great view (quite steep up there, helps you clear the heads of the rows in front), and despite the lack of legroom I was comfortable for the 100 minute running time. My wife was in G11... and had the opera glasses sticking in her leg. Space is tight up there, if you find your seat has glasses and you're not going to use them, ask the ushers if they can remove them for you.
Saw this on Monday 11th February 2019. Here’s our thoughts:
Our expectations weren’t that high and with the discovery that the show only played for 1 hour 40 minutes, without interval, our first impression when we saw 2 or 3 musicians on the stage didn’t lift our expectation. (We later discovered that there were 7 excellent musicians - more than you get in some pits).
Right from the opening number, the cast captured the audience and held them spellbound for the duration until the instant standing ovation at the close. The way in which a relatively small cast were able to play so many varied roles simply by the addition of a coat or a hat together with the change of accent was outstandingly good and far better than we have seen elsewhere. The story was one well worth telling and, although complex and multi layered, was conveyed to the audience brilliantly with just the right amount of pathos and comedy. The fact that a few chairs can be a small town bar, an airplane, a barbecue party and the air traffic control centre amongst others was remarkable helped in a big way by the lighting design.
A very well executed show that deserves a long time in the West End and will enjoyed by individuals and groups too.
I don’t really have much to add to your two reviewers. It is a great show and as one of the reviewers says the audience standing ovation is virtually 100% and instantaneous.
The feel of the show was reminiscent of “Once” to me, but that’s probably to do with the music (and the same theatre!).
One observation – the stage floor seemed very high – perhaps to accommodate the revolve. I wouldn’t want to sit in the front row at this show, even at £20 Day seat price. From our vantage point the row seemed very close to the front of the stage and I’m not sure how much you would see beyond the front ¼-1/3 of the stage – perhaps I’m exaggerating.
We were in row F (7 and 8) and our eyeline was level with/marginally above the stage floor. Very good view of the stage, good offset etc (helped by the seat in front of me being empty), but I would recommend not being any further forward than row E for this show.
I knew nothing about this show until I saw it last night (6th March 2019).
I was offered tickets for just £15 via Todaytix and got C3 & C4 in the upper circle. An absolute bargain. These seats offer a perfectly clear view of the whole stage no matter who sits in front of you. You are looking down from quite a height but that enhanced the show as you can see the patterns made on stage during the dance routines. On the down side, the seats are well squashed in with precious little leg room so rate about zero for comfort. Just about bearable for this show as it runs an hour and a half with no interval so you're not in agony for too long!
As for the show...well, I really don't know how to describe it. Brilliant, fantastic, superb, wonderful, moving, funny, spectacular all words that don't seem quite enough. Suffice it to say that it's knocked 'Jamie' down to 2nd on my Best Show Ever list! The instant, complete and rapturous standing ovation that accompanied the final note of music said it all. I don't think I've ever seen an audience reaction to match it. Absolute theatre magic...
I went to see Come From Away on Wednesday night (6th March 2019). It's fantastic! As soon as it finished I wanted to book again, so I completely agree with your five stars and standing ovation. I think it might just fill the 'Bat Out Of Hell' shaped hole in my life!
We sat in stalls Q7-8, got them for £35. The view was fine and great for the price, I could see faces pretty well and the overhang didn't obscure anything. I had no problem with the offset in Q7 (I'm quite short, but then the people in front weren't especially tall either). Q8 seemed less well offset to me but apparently the view was also fine. There seems to be more legroom the further from the central aisle you get, and we had plenty of room in 7 and 8. My only complaint was the obnoxious idiot sat behind us who answered her phone during the show, how could anyone think that's OK??
Oh my word, we felt exactly the same as the monkey. Joyful, uplifting and that band!!!!
Sat in Stalls F 6-8. Our current strategy for these big shows is to sit close to the Premium seats while not paying Premium prices! These were terrific. Good legroom, good sightlines, good price.
Best new musical in many years. It's almost perfect and will hopefully be with us for a long time.
Bought tickets in the top part of the theatre about 6 months ago. Bit more cash in my pocket today so asked to upgrade and was delighted to be upgraded to dress circle for a very fair price. Obviously I checked we wouldn't be being moved away. Box office team were great. E18 to 20 very good.
This is the must see musical of the decade. Spontaneous standing ovation with no cajoling.
SECOND VISIT, May 2019:
Second visit and loved it just as much as the first time. A couple of understudies were on and they were just great. Took a couple of friends and they were blown away!
THIRD VISIT, August 2019:
Only gets better and better. Took the middle son and he was blown away. Third time for me. I am an islander. Sat in Grand Circle A29 and A30. A29 is good and A30 fine. We are both about 5'7" and had no problem with leg room. You haven't really got anyone behind so leaning is guilt free.
FOURTH VISIT, October 2019:
Stalls AA1, day seat for £20 at 4.30pm. This seat is very restricted. So much so that I had to sign the back of my ticket to acknowledge I'd been given the warning. Could see three fifths of the stage, but was really up close. As it was my 4th time it was not a problem. It was great to see how much passion the cast put into their performances and it was again superb. at 100 minutes it is short but it felt more like half an hour.
Do not buy this seat if it's your first visit to this amazing show. But see this show! 5.5 stars.
Totally loved 'Come From Away' yesterday 23rd March 2019. My wife and I were drawn in very quickly, and soon I stopped seeing actors and started seeing real people on stage. Such a talented cast, including the band, and a show filled with real emotion without ever feeling that you were being manipulated. I can’t pick a standout from the cast, they were all superb, switching between characters and portraying so many different situations and emotions. I’m so pleased there was no interval because I feel that stopping the show would have broken the spell. At the end there was an instant and prolonged full house standing ovation, as if we all needed the release. A stunning addition to the West End.
We sat in the dress circle, seats F 2 and 3. The view was great, but a shallow rake meant you could be unlucky and have a tall person in front (pot, kettle, black I know) and have to see round them. Luckily for my wife, the seat in front was empty. I could see perfectly but the legroom was very tight. The pain after the show in my knees was roughly equivalent to what I am feeling now after taking part in the London landmarks half marathon :-). But for normal sized people, fine. We got them at half price through a Todaytix offer so I feel we got a real bargain. I would have happily paid full price for that view and that show.
You were spot on about Come From Away! Sat in Row AA and felt included in almost every way, and, in a small way, I was.
Phoenix Theatre, London, 17th April 2019
Seats in the so-called Grand Circle (row F) have a good view but very limited legroom and fairly restricted width. I’m 5’ 9” but still found my legs pressed against the back of the seat in front. If you are double unlucky, you will also find there’s a pair of binoculars in front of you, which make a lasting and painful impression on the front of your legs. It’s about time London theatres revamped their seats to cater for 21st century people sizes!
A great piece of theatre that exceeded my expectations. Every member of the cast is strong as they switch between parts and convert the simple set to create different effects. Each of their stories are told simply and well through interesting music from the rousing ‘Screech In’ to Rachel Tucker’s stunning voice in the knock out number ‘Me & The Sky’. It seems unfair to single people out though, because this really is an ensemble piece. Including the fabulous band, who (rightly) get their moment in the spotlight.
K17 and 18 - These seats were fairly reduced because a little far back but the view was clear and because it’s back row of dress circle, you can lean or sit as high as you like. Pretty good value.
On 2nd April 2019 I went back to 'Come From Away.' Got rush tickets for Grand Circle E13-14, which was a bit annoying as I've seen great stalls seats on the rush before, but can't really complain for a second time visit at £25 each. The seats were fine. Legroom was cramped but having an aisle seat meant my +1 could stretch out, and I only have short legs. Got a nice view of the whole stage, but the only bit that was slightly more effective from up high was the choreography of the plane passengers. Definitely preferred rear stalls and would recommend them to a first time visitor who could stretch their budget a little.
The first time I saw Come From Away I thought it was fantastic, I didn't understand why people were complaining that there weren't catchy songs because for me it was more about the overall atmosphere of the piece, and I couldn't wait to make multiple return visits. I enjoyed it less the second time I went. I think that once you know what's going to happen some of the magic and emotion is taken away, and the songs aren't memorable enough to carry the production. So I won't go again, but wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to someone who hasn't already been.
Wednesday 5th June 2019.
Thanks to the dayseater who reported the late availability of day seats on Tuesday 4th!. I rocked up at 1.15pm and got day seat AA12 for £20. Staff confirmed they have 12 day seats - all front row - for each performance. Note that there is a very high stage right in front of the dayseats (legroom isn't a problem). I'd recommend a cushion or soft prop-up, even though I am 5ft 10."
Staging is really inventive and the show is very feel-good.
Return visit. It was really good as always. Made me cry from start to finish. Went for a little bit more expensive back of the stalls seat (35) in row R but didn’t miss anything instead. :)
This show is absolutely brilliant – certainly my favourite new musical since 'Hamilton,' and one of the best I have ever seen. The perfect message for a troubled time. Second time seeing it for us (first was in the US) and we loved it even more than the first. It was the first time for our teenage sons (17 and 14) and they too thought it was extraordinary. Strong performances by the entire cast, especially in that all of them play multiple roles, and with no interval. Immediate, raucous, lengthy standing ovation at the end. And the band is incredible.
Stalls seats, R17, R18, R19, and R20 – we paid full price on a Friday night and they were worth every penny. Overhang was not an issue at all; I didn’t even notice it once the show started. Good offset between seats in rows Q and R, and elevated enough that the patron with the serious bouffant in row P was no problem.
June, August and September 2019 - yes, I've been three times in three months - my new favourite show and I'm a little bit obsessed - it's wonderful.
I've laughed and cried through three performances already and will be going again soon I'm sure.
June - First time was in stalls N5 and 6 - rush tickets on Todaytix so a bargain for these seats, especially at Saturday prices. A really good view despite being over to one side a bit, but still close enough to see faces clearly. The rake isn't great in there at all, but didn't have anyone overly tall in front so we were happy. Legroom not bad at all.
August - Second time I sat in stalls J10 - definitely better than the N seats I had last time, as benefited from being a few rows closer and more central. Comfortable leg room and a decent view from here. Think I enjoyed it even more the second time!
September - Third time this week just gone - another rush ticket, and this time got offered Grand Circle (B22) which was what I was after as wanted to see the choreography from up there. I felt it was a better view than the stalls as could obviously see the stage floor clearly, plus the depth of the stage and how they used the revolve. I was worried about the leg room (especially with there being no interval to stretch legs), but was prepared to sacrifice comfort for price and view. As it turned out, even at 6ft, I thought it was OK. It's very snug up there and I was shoulder to shoulder with my neighbours. Once sat down and positioned it was best not to move, but I didn't have any discomfort in my legs thankfully. So I'd definitely sit here again.
I recently booked tickets to see come from away for my wife's birthday.
I had not heard of it and from the reviews on here and a friend's review on Facebook it sounded worth seeing.
The show was amazing. A brilliant cast and great performance all round. A simple set but used to great effect.
We sat in the stalls in seats N13 and 14, and unfortunately I had someone tall in front of me - so it made seeing a portion of the stage difficult. There does not seem to be much of a rake to the stalls so if you get someone tall in front of you it will be a struggle.
The music and the songs are brilliant the band was excellent and full of energy.
This show is well worth seeing.
The soundtrack is on Spotify for the drive home.
I went to 'Come From Away' again, and sat in the Dress Circle for the first time - got row F 20/21 for £39.50 each on Todaytix which seemed to compare well to standard prices. A good view, legroom not too bad (not as cramped as the upper circle in the Phoenix) but a bit more leaning from side to side was needed to see round a couple of larger people in rows E and D. The show seemed to sound slightly different in terms of mix/balance from there too (versus stalls or upper circle).
Overall the seats were good but given the upper circle is cheaper I’d probably pick seats up there again as I think looking down from the slightly greater angle enhances the view of the choreography. To get the full effect of that though, either circle is definitely preferable to the stalls.
As always, an incredibly talented cast, some amazing songs and even a chat with Rachel Tucker afterwards made for a great evening.
Wednesday evening 8th January 2020.
We were sitting in stalls B10 and 11. The monkey was right in that you couldn't see the actors' feet due to the height of the stage but that didn't matter for this show at all. Perversely, having to look up at the stage, your view wasn't obstructed by folk sitting in front of you in rows A and AA!
This was a real feel good show with all 12 cast members playing several roles, with minor costume changes brought down to a fine art, and such a simple set. There was not a single week link in the performance and you left the theatre on a high! Interesting in that it was just a one act play.
So, we had an excellent view from row B, but due to the height of the stage you probably wouldn't be able to see the stage floor until rows E or F. The seats weren't particularly comfortable, but legroom was good.
After originally seeing the show on 8th January 2020, we saw the matinee performance on Wednesday 12th February 2020 sitting in stalls seats N27 and N28. Despite our seats being right on the outside we had a good view of the stage not missing anything at all. The rake was quite good and you could easily see the stage floor. Legroom was just about reasonable.
There was a big cast change the week before and together with three understudies we saw eight new cast members. To be honest we both enjoyed the show even better than last time and that is saying something! All the new actors were great!
About half way through the show there was a technical hitch which meant a delay of about five minutes but this didn’t diminish our enjoyment at all. Thoroughly recommendable!
Attended the matinee performance on Saturday 25th February 2020.
Wow. I really wasn't expecting much from this but got last minute tickets and a bargain price so thought we'd give it a go and I am so glad we did. It's such a great show and must have the hardest working cast in the west end. I laughed and cried numerous times and was up at the end with the rest of the audience for the well deserved standing ovation. A must see for anyone.
Sat in seats G13 and 14. These are normally marked up as premium seats for £125 but due to a chance meeting we paid £50 which was great. G14 is on the centre aisle and totally clear view. However there is very little rake in this theatre and my Dad did end up having his view obscured by the person in front. Not great if you had of paid full price.
14th March 2020. I thought I would tell you my thoughts on Come From Away as it was a show where I couldn't see how the subject matter could be made into a musical!
But I was proved wrong as it was one of the best things I have seen.
Very uplifting, though sad at the same time, wonderful music and such a clever set which forced you to use your imagination, but that felt so easy to do.
I was very impressed by the whole show with no negatives (unusually for me).
The monkey advises checking performance times on your tickets and that performances are happening as scheduled, before travelling.
Until 17th July 2021:
Monday to Friday at 7.30pm
Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
From 21st July 2021:
Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Wednesday and Saturday at 2.30pm and 7.30pm
Runs 1 hour 40 minutes approximately, with no interval.
Theatres use "dynamic pricing." Seat prices change according to demand for a particular performance. Prices below were compiled as booking originally opened. Current prices are advised at time of enquiry.
Monday to Wednesday
Rows B to O, plus P 7 to 22: £72.50 except
"Premium Seats" row D 10 to 17, E and F 11 to 18: £125
"Premium Seats" row D 8, 9, 18, 19; E and F 9, 10, 19, 20; G and H 9 to 20; J 8 to 19: £99.50
"Premium Package" seats row C 7 to 18 and M 11 to 18: £90
Rows E to H 7, 8, 21, 22; J 6, 7, 20, 21; K 9 to 22; L 9 to 20: £82.50
"Restricted view seats" rows A 1 to 4, 17 to 20; B to F 1 and 2; B 22, 23; C 23, 24; D 25, 26; E and F 27, 28: £52.50
Row P 1 to 6, 23 to 38; Q 7 to 22: £62.50
Row Q 1 to 6, 23 to 28; row R: £52.50
Row S: £42.50
Rows A to J: £72.50 except
"Premium Seats" rows B and C 11 to 18: £125
"Premium Seats" rows B and C 7 to 10, 19 to 22: £99.50
"Premium Package" seats row F 11 to 18: £90
Rows B and C 5, 6, 23, 24; D 7 to 22; E 9 to 20: £82.50
Row H 1, 2, 27, 28; J 1 to 6, 23 to 28: £62.50
Row A 1, 2; K 7 to 22: £52.50
Row K 1 to 6, 23 to 28: £42.50
Row B 3 to 12, 17 to 26; C 3 to 26; D 7 to 22: £52.50
Row A, B 1, 2, 13, 14, 27, 28; C 1, 2, 27, 28; D 3 to 6, 23 to 26; E and F 3 to 26: £42.50
Rows D to F 1, 2, 27, 28; G and H 3 to 26: £32.50
Rows G and H 1, 2, 27, 28; row J: £20
Thursday to Saturday
Rows A to Q: £72.50 except
"Premium Seats" row D 10 to 17; E to G 11 to 18: £125
"Premium Seats" row D 8, 9, 18, 19; E to G 9, 10, 19, 20; H 9 to 20; J 8 to 19: £100
"Premium Package" seats row C 7 to 16: £99.50
"Premium Seats" row D 6, 7, 20, 21; E to J 6, 7, 21, 22; K and L 9 to 20: £85
Row A 5 to 16: £65
"Restricted view seats" rows A 1 to 4, 17 to 20; B to F 1 and 2; B 22, 23; C 23, 24; D 25, 26; E and F 27, 28: £55
Row R: £55
Row S: £45
Rows A to J: £75 except
"Premium Seats" rows B, C and D 11 to 18: £125
"Premium Seats" rows B, C and D 7 to 10, 19 to 22; E and F 9 to 20: £99.50
"Premium Seats" rows B and C 5, 6, 23, 24; D and E 5 to 8, 21 to 24; G 11 to 18: £85
Rows G and H 1, 2, 27, 28; J 1 to 6, 23 to 28: £65
Row K 9 to 20: £65
Row A 1, 2; K 1 to 8, 21 to 28: £55
Row B 1 to 12, 17 to 28; rows C and D: £55
Row A, row B 13 to 16; Rows E and F: £45
Rows G and H: £35
Rows H and J: £25
"Day Seats": A small number of seats - usually 12 in row AA front row stalls - are available to personal callers at the box office before the performance on the day from 10am, priced £20 each. Limited to 2 tickets per person. The monkey always advises taking both cards and cash in case one is preferred over the other. Check with the box office before travelling if this policy is still in operation.
"Rush Tickets:" App Todaytix are offering £25 "Rush tickets," located at venue discretion, for all performances. Released for the performance on that day, first-come, first-served. Download the App from Todaytix, unlock the "Rush Ticketing" feature by sharing on Facebook or Twitter, and that will allow you to buy tickets. This venue applies "dynamic pricing" to reduce or increase the price of some seats nearer the performance time.
Some details may change, the monkey will update as available.