Come From Away recounts a story of empathy and compassion, highlighting the best of humanity following the aftermath of events orchestrated by the worst of humanity. Many tales of heroism emerged onsite ground zero on September 11, 2001, but one such act, unbeknownst to all but those directly involved, was unfolding many miles away, in the small Canadian town of Gander, Newfoundland.
With the entire United States airspace screeching to a halt, all air-traffic scurried to ground in the closest available runway. The small town of Gander, with a population just shy of 10,000, found itself nearly doubled as 7000 unsuspecting passengers were left stranding indefinitely, with little more than the hospitality of their interim destination to lean on.
Representing both the stranded souls, the towns-people, and a mixed bag of supporting characters is a cast of twelve, seamlessly switching between the various personas with the swiftest of wardrobe changes and accompanying set modifications. The performances themselves were all highly enjoyable, with little more than a few questionable accent discrepancies to critique. The dialogue was a little corny at times, injecting a consistent flurry of mediocre one-liners at least a handful land a decent comedic punch. The main issue is the blatant exposition told by each character throughout the show, often addressing the audience directly in order to progress the show’s narrative; as the saying goes, “show don’t tell”.
Despite the lack of creative storytelling, there is much to love about the show as a whole. The energy exuded throughout the show’s 1hr 45min runtime is undoubtedly infectious, matched perfectly by the backing instrumentals of the live band. The sheer wholesomeness of the story is incredibly heartwarming, so much so you’ll likely find yourself overlooking the narrative’s pitfalls, of which I would be remiss if I didn’t mention them for your consideration. For one, though all remarkable respectively, the large cast felt overwhelming at times, hindered by the equal focus put on each character in terms of both story and stage-time; the stage seldom left vacant, with only lighting and dialogue to guide the viewer’s attention. This also meant it was difficult to invest in any particular sub-plot, each given equally insufficient time to develop fully and thereby add to the emotional impact of the events portrayed. Likewise, any attempt at social commentary (e.g., the discrimination of Islamic people following 9/11) didn’t invoke any meaningful reflection.
I came away from Come From Away with mixed emotions. If you switch your brain off and bask merely in the exhilaration and joviality of it all, you’re in for a wonderful time, one that will undoubtedly leave you with that warm and fuzzy feeling we all so crave. BUT, if you go in expecting any deeper meaning or emboldened critique revolved around the darkness of its core subject, you’ll leave feeling rather empty and disappointed; it really comes down to personal expectation, and
Ultimately, the collective acts of pure selflessness told through the show’s medium leaves a lasting impression, much like the events themselves on all those affected, and it is their stories that continue to live on with each performance. Come From Away is currently running at Melbourne’s Comedy Theatre.
PETER PAN IN NEVERLAND website review by Marina Sklyar
Neverland is a land of freedom, childhood and joy.
Oh, Peter Pan, how can anyone not like you! You are a free spirit, you are brave and loving boy who takes care of his friends.
What a joy it is to leave through these moments of happiness together with the audience and the actors! Any adult would love to come back to careless childhood land.
This is exactly what the director wanted the adult part of the audience to feel... and as for the kids: just to be mesmorised by remembering those wonderful moments.
It is a beautiful play wih great acting, fantastic crew and high encouriging script.
This is a great event to introduce your kids to the stage and for them to start loving live play under the sky and theater and art in generl.
My daughter and I absolutely loved this production so much that we made a decision to see if we can pass the casting ourselves and start her acting career.
The play went in one fantastc breath full of inspiration and excitement for many. When it was finished people still were waiting for more to come.
Never give up your dreams even if evil Captian Hook captures you or want to break your spirit! Fight is the rule of life!
What a fabulous production! What a joy to watch young people creating such a fantastic performance!
Absolute joy to watch every minute of this musical, the costumes, acting, singing including the engaging script!.
Everything is done on such a high level you would never think that they are not professional actors but acting school students of primary, high school and University students, who may never choose acting as their profession but have it as a hobby.
I have seen a number of productions done by Stage School Australia and every time without a doubt I loved all their plays.
Well done, I applaud to you , the talented crew!
What an inspiration to young people! The audience was mesmerised no matter young or old, what a fabulous day out in a lovely park, surrounded by beautiful nature! What else would you want?
A must see for all ages!
photos: Marina Sklyar
NGV TRIENIAL 2020 website review by Sherry Westley NGV Triennial 19 December 2020- 18 April 2021
Don’t miss this!
Following on from the record breaking attendance at the 2017 inaugural Triennial exhibition, the National Gallery of Victoria’s 2020 Triennial looks set to at least equal that record. It features 86 new exhibits of contemporary art, design and architecture, by over 100 artists and collectives from 30 different countries. Interestingly, NGV commissioned about 30 of these works and so will retain them for us. Entry is free, but you must book a timed entry on line.
The works are based on themes such as isolation, conservation representation and speculation on the future.
This year it is spread throughout the entire gallery, rather than presented as a stand alone exhibition. The themes of many of the new Triennial works are in some way related to the themes of the older existing works they share a gallery space with. This is not necessarily self evident.
Of course you can enjoy it all on a purely visual level and have a wonderful experience. But it makes it much more interesting to understand some of the artist’s and curator’s ideas. For me, the choice is a live or audio tour, expected to be available in 2021. But in the meantime, there are video explanations accessible via your phone and the usual written information.
Having had an introductory tour, I will visit again by myself. There is too much to take in comfortably during one visit. There are so many different styles, methods and materials used in producing these works. You can be assured everyone will find specific works they love, and production methods that intrigue them.
Of course you must see the stunning Jeff Coons acquisition “Venus”. And in the foyer, the enormous screen work by Turkish artist Refik Anadol,”Quantum Memories”. I’m technologically phobic, but the back story to this one is fascinating. It uses artificial intelligence, an algorithm and every existing Google picture of nature, to produce beautifully swirling colours and shapes: “the collective human memory of the natural world “.
Yes I could go on about my personal favourites, but you will find your own. Just go! You will enjoy it.