Come From Away – Civic Theatre

How do you humorously portray the horrific? Add a touch of human.

Irene Sankoff and David Hein’s hit musical Come From Away brought to you by Civic Theatre Newcastle, tells the story of a small town called Gander during the week after the 9/11 bombings. From this dark context, the play blossom into exploring what it is to be human in the face of tragedy. Through themes of love, loss, compassion, and exhaustion, the play examines what it means to be human when faced with the unimaginable.

The text of this play is a combination of script, lyrics and verbatim, resulting in an unforgettable piece of theatre. The stories told are amalgamations of real people and events, allowing us to see a snapshot of what happened in Gander in September 2001.

The cast consisted of 12 actors playing multiple characters, and every single one shone. The performers were able to showcase humanity both in the micro and the macro as we were invited into people’s homes and lives while reliving a very public tragedy.

Although each actor played multiple parts, Sarah Nairne’s portrayal of “Hannah” stood out. She portrayed the sorrow of loss and heartache that comes with losing a loved one. Simple costume changes made the transitions between the characters seamless, and the stage setting of about a dozen chairs and a couple of tables made quick scene changes effortless.

The ensemble worked together as a living organism on the stage, moving us from scene to scene with unison, clarity, and precision. They flawlessly transitioned us from scene to scene, supporting and holding space for the individual characters that emerged from the group.

The musicians provided a pulse for the immense and powerful heart of the ensemble, which guided the audience through the emotional journey of the performance. The few times they appeared on stage were a celebration of all things coming together.

Although the lighting fitted the action on the stage, my favourite part of the play was a beautiful moment where the grand lighting backdrop was stripped, and the actors took control of the lighting via torches. Their elongated shadow behind them created an eerie and foreboding effect on the drama as it played out.

Come From Away is being performed in Newcastle until the 5th of March. If the review itself did not convince you to go and see the award-winning performance, let me bluntly tell you to check it out! Upcoming show dates are:-

  • Wednesday 22 February 2023 – 1:00 PM and 7:00 PM
  • Thursday 23 February 2023 – 7:00 PM
  • Friday 24 February 2023- 7:30 PM
  • Saturday 25 February 2023 – 2:00 PM AND 7:30 PM
  • Sunday 26 February 2023 – 2:00 PM and 6:00 PM
  • Wednesday 01 March 2023 – 11:00 AM AND 7:00 PM
  • Thursday 02 March 20237:00 PM
  • Friday 03 March 20237:30 PM
  • Saturday 04 March 20232:00 PM AND 7:30 PM
  • Sunday 05 March 20232:00 PM and 6:00 PM