top of page

REVIEW | Come From Away, UK and Ireland tour - Sheffield Lyceum

AD - Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest

(Photo Credit: Craig Sugden)

The multi-award winning show, including an Olivier for ‘Best New Musical’ in 2019, Come From Away, which tells the story of a small Canadian town that doubled in population as it welcomed 7,000 people from across the world who are grounded during one of the worlds most unimaginable events, is currently playing its first ever UK and Ireland tour, and audiences seem to be hooked from the get go! 

Come From Away is the musical that tells the true story of one of the world's most terrifying events of the September 11th attacks, and how 7,000 passengers from across the world were grounded in a small Newfoundland town called Gander. The show focuses on the true lives of the passengers who were grounded, including the first female American Airline pilot Beverley Bass, and those in the town who helped out and how they all came together in the toughest times.

With Book, Music and Lyrics by Irene Sankoff and David Hein, Direction by award winning Christopher Ashley and Choreography by Kelly Devine, it’s one show that feels to me somewhat universal. I think people, not just musical theatre fans attending, but also non musical theatre fans and audiences in Sheffield appear to have loved it, by the way the audience was straight up to give a standing ovation at the very beginning of the curtain call. 

Come From Away runs for 1 hour and 50 minutes with no interval. Like always, my reviews are 100% honest and I will always justify my ratings, thoughts and feelings, always giving constructive feedback and my opinions are my own. 

As Come From Away is based and tells the lives of real people, I feel that the writers and the creative team have a sense of responsibility for getting the show right and telling it with respect. But luckily writers Sankoff and Hein have no need to worry there as they write the show remarkably and without going over the top. Sankoff and Hein’s score helps the storytelling of the characters and events. The terrific score, which is a mix of both musical theatre and traditional Newfoundland sound, is a mixture of what feels like a Folk and an Irish inspired musical sound. Both come together and help tell the two sides from the unexpected joyful moments, to the emotional and heartfelt moments. They also create and set tones of cheery and upbeat mood but also allow the darkest and upsetting moments of the events which result in creating a realistic feeling. Sankoff and Hein’s lyrics are written to perfection and help the story along, and they are catchy, you will definitely be singing them on your way home. Something that I like about Come From Away is the fast paced storytelling, with me genuinely feeling like I was on the edge of real emotions, and feeling that I was holding my breath for the duration of the show. I do feel an interval would break down the tension and flow of the whole show. Sankoff and Hein create a piece of theatre that represents how humanity can come together in the hardest of times and is relevant to all aspects of life. 

Director, Christopher Ashley, puts all the strength in making impressive directional decisions into the show that leave you with a very vivid vision of what the songs and dialogue are telling us. Ashley’s work creates what some people could call, the most intense moments, and leaves you with a hard to imagine picture of the original events of September 11th and how the diverted plane passengers and the people of Gander reacted in the wake of these events, which are heart-rending to imagine. Ashley not only shows the heartbreak moments but also reveals the developed friendships and relationships between the Gander citizens and the plane passengers, which are beautifully played out by the cast. Ashley really gets you to imagine everything from big to small things. Ashley’s direction is immense and establishes the juxtaposition between the joyful and more light-hearted moments to the scary and frightening times. Ashley’s directing is excellent!

(Photo Credit: Craig Sugden)

The Come From Away cast is made up of 12 incredible performers who all work effortlessly together. The 12 cast members never really leave the stage for a long period of time and they all move seamlessly between their multi-roles really well. It isn’t just a case of the cast slipping on a different item of clothing to distinguish who’s who, the change in characterisation is clearly shown in their performance. You can see the whole cast having one big connection with not just each other but also the on stage band members too. Come From Away doesn’t have an ensemble, the cast, and some may also say the band, collectively come together as an ensemble to perform this brilliant piece of theatre.

Sara Poyzer takes on the role of Beverley Bass, Annette and others. Poyzer looks at ease on stage in the different roles. Poyzer shows swiftness in transferring into the different characters really well and you can see the clear difference between the switches of character roles. Poyzer’s performance is engaging throughout and skilful. Poyzer’s rendition of “Me and the Sky” is truly powerful, with vocals that wows the whole auditorium. Poyzer is delightful and gives an outstanding performance. 

Amanda Henderson plays Beulah and others, Henderson’s characterisation is brilliant and is full of care and heart. Henderson has a really good connection with Bree Smith, who plays Hannah. You can see the love developing between them both throughout, which is honestly really lovely to see. Henderson brings out so much love to Smith's character and also shows the determination of the time and circumstances that the town is in. Henderson's performance is so lovely to watch play out on stage. 

Dale Mathurin plays Bob and others, Mathurin plays on a collection of sides for the character of Bob, from being nervous to then slowly having a sort of carefree mood, which are actually delivered with humour and get laughs from the audience. Mathurin distinguishes the two sides of the character and slowly shows the audience the character's mood and feelings about the events happening. Mathurin's performance is very likeable and is great throughout. 

The whole cast feel that they are well versed in the show. The show is performed like a well oiled machine by not only by the cast but the band, the whole cast is a triumph performing some captivating performances all round. 

Choreography by Kelly Devine, Devine brings some great work to the show, including some great, what some people will call, “Chairography” the choreography is slick and is suitable for the production as a whole. Devine choreography is brilliant. 

Come From Away is one truly special modern piece of theatre, it shows the power of humanity and how it can change lives in an instant. Whilst you may think a show that is based around an horrific moment in history couldn’t be a musical, but the all round finished product is something that has moments of warmth and also comedy. With a small cast and simplicity in its set design it all comes together beautifully.

Come From Away is a heart-warming gem of a musical.


Come From Away is playing at the Sheffield Lyceum until 20 July before continuing on a UK tour.

(Photo Credit: Craig Sugden)


bottom of page