COME FROM AWAY

****1/2

First, let me put your mind at ease; although this musical takes place on 9/11/01 and the days following, this is NOT a musical about painful memories. It IS a joyous, good-will musical about 9,000 stoic, weather-beaten north islanders defrosting their hearts and opening their homes to give 7,000 displaced people accommodations and hospitality for a few days, and changing their lives in the process. This is the definition of a feel-good musical.

The music ranges from Celtic to pop show tunes. The stories are interesting and honest. The cast of 12 (not a chorus boy among them) play multiple roles as townsfolk and their stranded guests. Plus, it’s always a pleasure to see Jenn Colella and Chad Kimball perform. The Book, Music and Lyrics for COME FROM AWAY are by the husband & wife writing team Irene Sankoff and David Hein, based on their own experience and interviews. (See if you can spot their on-stage doppelgangers.)

This show had MANY out-of-town performances leading up to the Broadway run and it pays off with clockwork precision both in the delivery of the lines and songs. Under Christopher Ashley‘s direction, this cast knows what works and exactly how to milk it.

Clips from the Show

Show Info

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GOD LOOKED AWAY

*

I was going to skip reviewing GOD LOOKED AWAY, the dreadful new show about the last Opening Night in Tennessee Williams’ career, but since there is fresh talk of transferring it to Broadway, I must speak up.

PLEASE DO NOT MOVE THIS SHOW.

It is painfully dull and frivolous. It is written by Dotson Rader, one of Tennessee’s real-life lovers, whose greatest writing achievement to date is in Parade Magazine. And that is the level of verbal finesse you get in this weak, soggy play. Scenes have little shape and the dialogue just wanders. A crucial moment is thrown away in a phone call. Too much time is spent on a rivalry between two “himbos.” You never get to see the acid wit or lyric soul or creative brilliance of Tennessee Williams, just his lasciviousness.

Al Pacino wrestles with a southern accent and loses. He doesn’t even try to get Tennessee’s mannerisms. The usually exquisite Judith Light doesn’t enter till the second Act and then she is woefully underused. Please, let’s not waste any more time with this dreck.

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946: THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS

****

946: THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS details a fatal WWII military maneuver, as told thru the eyes of a young girl when her cat gets lost behind enemy lines in England. It is brought to St. Ann’s Warehouse by the British Theatre Company Kneehigh, based on a novel by Michael Morpurgo, the author of WAR HORSE.

Whimsy, Young Adult novels, War Time allegories, an adult playing a child and a puppet playing a cat…you can hear me yelling for a cab already. However, I was brought to this delightful (yes, I said DELIGHTFUL) show by a woman with an old soul and a young heart. It came at a time when I was just getting over an illness and it entertained and restored me.

The onstage band plays folk songs and big band tunes, there is even some Swing dancing. The story has its dark moments and packs an emotional wallop. The Set is stunning and Katy Owen is a wonderfully cantankerous and physically nimble heroine. Currently playing at St. Ann’s Warehouse and out on tour to a town near you, 946: THE AMAZING STORY OF ADOLPHUS TIPS can be enjoyed by all ages, even jaded adults.

Show Site

St. Ann’s Warehouse Site