This show will draw you in from the moment it gets started. You are caught laughing as the townsfolk bring you into their world, including that cop who reminds you to STFD (Slow The Fuck Down). You’re brought into this quirky town where everything seems great, until it isn’t.
As tragedy strikes in the US, planes are having to land in Gander in Newfoundland where the town at least doubles in size from all of the plane people coming into town. It shows how the townsfolk rallied and supported the people during the time of uncertainty and despair.
This musical shows hardship, loss, love, loss of love, stress, support, and hope. It’s a rollercoaster of emotions of just when you start to feel a bit blue, something goofy and fun happens. Like the scene where people got to become honorary Newfoundlanders. Or the part with the grills and all the mayors. The music supports the running emotions with the fun upbeat songs mixed with the lyrics laced with uncertainty in other songs, grabbing you by the emotions.
The most striking is just as the show is ending and everyone is going back to ‘normal’ life, how truly not normal life was afterward. Not only for the townsfolk but the plane people too. People going back home and having to face the tragedy of 9/11, whereas they hadn’t gotten to feel those emotions before with the people of Gander successfully keeping their focus elsewhere during their stay. Suddenly, the town of Gander also feels strikingly empty without those plane people there too. It’s facing loss and worry in many ways, everyone’s lives changed by this event.
It’s not every day a show sits with me as this one did. I often will find myself singing ‘I’m an islander, I am an islander’ at random. I will also find myself thinking about that moment near the end where we see and feel everyone facing the aftermath. And I also find myself laughing to myself when I see fish on my plate and thinking about kissing the fish. This is one of those shows that leaves a lump in your throat, but also makes you smile. It is one I will undoubtedly see as many times as it rolls through town. I highly suggest going to see this if you get a chance.