With so many things to see and do in Melbourne, it can be hard to decide what to spend your time and money on. Lately Melbournians have been hearing a lot about the new musical ‘Come from Away,’ but does it really live up to the hype? Silver Top took a trip to the Comedy Theatre to find out.

‘Come from Away’ tells the story of the small Canadian town of Gander, who took in 7000 of the stranded travelers blocked from American airspace following the 9/11 attacks. The Melbourne production first previewed in July and has (so far) been met with almost unanimous praise from critics and audiences.

it’s refreshing to encounter a production so positive in the face of terror.

One outlier, Guardian critic Michael Billington, has remarked that the musical is somewhat “relentless” in its niceness. Indeed, it should be acknowledged that Come from Away’s portrayal of the racial profiling experienced by an Egyptian passenger does feel quite limited, and it is arguably too sympathetic to the white characters implicated. Having said that, it’s refreshing to encounter a production so positive in the face of terror. Come from Away is an emotional palatecleanser in an era of constant bad news, and it’s hard not to enjoy yourself through all the foot stomping and impressively accurate Newfoundland accents.

The actions of the real people involved are genuinely moving, and the cast throw themselves into the musical with relish. There’s nothing particularly new in the music (although the band is fantastic), staging, or style of the production, but it’s all pulled off with such enthusiasm that you can’t help but enjoy the ride. This is a show for the whole family.

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