Comedy

Come Via Halifax — the raucous new sequel to Come From Away

Stuck in the Halifax airport with a bunch of accordion-carrying Newfoundlanders? There's no telling what could happen!

A satirical take on what happens now that N.L. has lost a direct connection to Ireland

The cast of "Come From Away," are shown in a 2016 handout photo. (Matthew Murphy/The Canadian Press)

It comes as no surprise that the box office success of the musical Come From Away would spawn tawdry knock-offs hoping to cash in on an unlikely appetite for Newfoundland themes. Few could have seen coming the unauthorized sequel Come Via Halifax.

Fewer still would have guessed that its creators would tell their story in the horror genre.

Sure, there is no crowd more musical in all of Canada and do we make a hit show? No, instead we makes a Jaysus-big hydro dam and shags that up.- Lillian Dunn, producer

The plot of Come Via Halifax is straightforward: a group of Irish musical theatre fans, wowed by the hit version of Come From Away staged in Dublin, are inspired to visit the play's Newfoundland setting, including an exhaustive day-long tour of Gander.

They book tickets on the WestJet flight from Dublin to St. John's.

Soon after, WestJet cancels the direct DUB-YYT flight — from which the musical's one rap number gets it name — and re-routes them via Halifax.

When they finally set out, an early-June blizzard cancels flights to Newfoundland from mainland Canada, and the Irish travellers find themselves stuck at Halifax Stanfield International Airport.

But that doesn't mean they don't get to have the authentic Newfie experience! The terminal is full of similarly-stranded genuine Newfoundlanders.

Producer Lillian Dunn believes the time is right for Come Via Halifax. 

"We all loved being loved in Come From Away because we always needs to be remind we are, like, the most loving loveables out there, right? Canada's Happy Province, right?" said Dunn. "But it frigging galls me that a bunch of mainlanders are making all the money off all our GD hospitality and all we gets is a pat on the head."

Ms. Dunn says the homegrown talent has what it takes.

"Musical? Sure, there is no crowd more musical in all of Canada and do we make a hit show? No, instead we makes a Jaysus-big hydro dam and shags that up. Play to your strengths, right?"

In the new show the Newfoundlanders are determined to give the Irish pilgrims a taste of the Rock even if means kissing a haddock and tossing back shots of Goslings Rum.

Hamilton creator Lin Manuel Miranda, pictured holding a cod, tweeted this photo after taking in a performance of Come From Away. (Lin-Manuel Miranda/Twitter)

New songs sure to be hits!

Some of the winning songs in the show include:

  • Welcome To The Dock — The Irish visitors meet some authentic "skeets," witless small-time crooks from St. John's, with regrettable facial tattoos and criminal records identified by volume, who tell of adventures of decapitating parking meters for change and smuggling "oxy" into their hometown's authentically Victorian penitentiary.
  • Any Mummers 'llowed Back Through Security — Characters Nipper Fudge and Otto Strangemore, heading home from work in Fort Mac and trapped in the Halifax air terminal for twelve hours, cannot take it any longer and go outside for a smoke.  When they attempt to go back through airport security they realize they have left their boarding passes on the bar inside and now face living the rest of their lives in a Nova Scotian limbo.
  • So You're Irish Are You? — Well-known blowhard and Newfoundland Eireophile​ Eamon Boodarby challenges the stranded visitors to an Irish trivia contest with hilarious results.

Among the other certain hits are Get It In Ya (The $12 Sandwich Song)Pop Finds 'Is NervesWanna See Me Ugly Stick? and It's Terminal.

The play is set almost entirely in the Halifax Airport with a notable exception being an eerie dream sequence set in St. John's in which deranged authorities, in a gesture resembling the erection of the straw airplane totems of the Melanesian Cargo Cults, build an extension on St. John's International Airport in the futile hope that planes flying overhead will land there.

The Government of Newfoundland and Labrador has helped fund the development of the new musical which is being directed by Carla Foote.

Read more stories from CBC Newfoundland and Labrador

About the Author

Edward Riche

Contributor

Edward Riche writes for the page, stage and screen. He lives in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Labrador.