Come From Away #HappyCanadaDay

Wow!

At the beginning of last week, I entered a competition to win tickets to see Come From Away in London. I’ve been wanting to see it since I saw the trailer for the Broadway version (and then found out it was opening in London) so figured I would give it a go and see what happened next.

🌍 Competition time! 🌍

Help us PAY IT FORWARD this Canada Day as we take over Tottenham Court Road Underground Station for an afternoon of community and kindness.

Here’s how to enter. 👇🏻

Comment below and tell us how the message of Come From Away has inspired you.

Five winners will get to spend an afternoon with our cast, spreading kindness. They’ll also win a dinner for two at Joe Allen Restaurant and a pair of tickets to see Come From Away on Canada Day, with an on stage meet and greet after the show.

On Wednesday, while Jaxon and I shared an apple, I got a message on Twitter from the social media team to say I’d won! (Yep nearly sprayed the apple across my laptop! Oops!)

I rang Mum and we start a plan. Can Mum take the time off work? Can Dad do the school run and look after Jaxon? Can he take us to the train station too?

She goes off to chat to Dad and I have a little freak out because I’m SO excited. Mum texts back, Dad will have Jaxon so we’re good to go.

After a couple of days of being super excited, we got up to Monday and it was time for our adventure. I got Jaxon up and to school like normal (well minus me repacking my backpack with “day out” things instead of my everyday stuff) and then after a quick pit stop at the supermarket headed home to kill time until Mum and I would go to the station. (Even managed to get some work done!)

The trains were definitely on our side as we managed to get a London bound train within 10 minutes of getting through the barrier at Bedford.

On our arrival in London, we stopped to grab a sandwich and headed towards the theatre (figured it was better to kill time there if we needed to).

We found a spot to sit just around the corner from the theatre and ate our sandwiches and put the world to rights. Thankfully the sun was shining and it was warm but not too hot like Saturday!

At 12.30 we went back to the theatre and met the cast/crew and the other winners and their guests. We were each given a Come From Away pin (in the shape of a Canadian maple leaf) so that we could be identified by the cast (even if we couldn’t remember everyone’s names!). After being introduced to lots of people and told the plan we all walked from the theatre to Tottenham Court Road Station. As part of the Crossrail (Elizabeth Line) project a lot of Tottenham Court Road station has changed since the last time I think I went through the station.

At first we were a bit muddled what we needed to do and where we should stand but as the first flash mob started we relaxed a bit. Following the flash mob, we handed out the preloaded Oyster cards and holders. The first time, we were all a bit uncomfortable (I think!). We tried to give out the cards but often people were too busy saying no and walking away to listen to us. (Or we think they thought there was a catch – cos why would anything be free?)

Following our first flash mob/giveaway, we ended up going to Pret for a coffee with Mark, Jenn and Kirsty from the cast as well as a couple of the other winners from the competition. It was great fun and we talked about all sorts of different things including how Kirsty once played a Hobbit and then how tall Hobbits had to be. Actually, that started from talking about birthdays and how Hobbits give presents on their birthday instead of receiving.

Grabbing coffee with Mark, Jenn and Kirsty from the cast, Cher, Heather and My mum.

Mark is our selfie photographer, then in the picture starting over Mark’s left shoulder we have Heather, Kirsty, Mum. Then down the otherside, I’m at the back, then it’s Jenn and CherAnn. Then it was time to head back to the station for round two. Mum and I chatted to Harry (He plays Oz and other roles) leading up to the second flash mob. We figured that if we started handing out the cards as soon as the cast finished then we could catch people while their attention was still on it before they’d moved onto the next thing in their day. We definitely found it worked better. There were still people who turned them down but by getting on it straight away it definitely made a difference.

Following the second flash mob, Mum and I went to sit outside and have a snack and a drink. We talked about what show is now on at the Dominion after We Will Rock You finished in 2014. (We came to see it when I was about 34 weeks pregnant with Jaxon!). We then headed back into the station as we were getting really hot in the sunshine outside (and it was about time for the final flash mob).

Following the third flash mob, we headed back to the theatre with the cast and we were able to go through the stage door, through the corridors and onto the stage, which was so exciting! It was a bit surreal being on the stage looking out across the auditorium. We stood and counted the rows to figure out roughly where we would be seating. Actually I counted it the wrong way and we were on the opposite side to where we thought but we were still 13ish rows from the front and to one side of the row so still had amazing views of the stage and really felt like we were part of the action, rather than being off in the gods or something like that.

How cool are these lighting rigs? They are trees with the lights then hung on them which is really cool. I took the photo to send to Chris but he was busy at work and didn’t reply.

After taking photos, we headed out through the other wing of the stage, through the auditorium and then out the front door of the theatre. We had a couple of hours to pass before our booking at the restaurant, so Mum and I started by going to Paperchase as that is on Tottenham Court Road (about 10 minutes from the Dominion I think). We then went to Hema, Muji and another store (but I can’t remember which one now!). We did talk about going to Flying Tiger but we have one of them in Milton Keynes whereas are closest Muji and Hema are London. After shopping, we walked from TCR to the Joe Allen restaurant in the Strand, this included cutting across Covent Garden market as my instructions were taking me around the block rather than across it!

We arrived at the restaurant thinking we were maybe 5-10 minutes early but according to the Maitre’D lady we were closer to 40 minutes early as they had us booked for 5:30 instead. They were able to seat us anyway and we started with drinks. I ordered an “Over The Hedge”. It contained Elderflower, mint, lime, cucumber and tonic. At first, I really didn’t like the drink as the tonic was sat on top of the ice and I tried sipping it from the edge of the glass. Then I realised if I used the straw I got all the elderflower and lime taste which was great but as I got through my drink the tonic was getting stronger to the point that I didn’t drink the end of it. I guess if I had it again I might ask if they could switch the tonic for lemonade instead.

We were given a set menu to pick from which was great (sometimes less choice for me is better!)

I had:

  • Starter – Buffala mozzarella, salsa verde, cherry tomatoes, croûtons
  • Main – Cornfed chicken breast, aubergine & red pepper couscous, yoghurt, mint.
  • Dessert – Vanilla panacotta, summer berries and Chocolate tart, crème fraîche, caramelised hazelnuts.

No I didn’t have two desserts. Mum and I couldn’t decide and ended up getting one of each and going halves. Both were lovely but I think the pannacotta was my favourite out of both of them. Could have happily had another portion of that I’m sure!

We headed out of the restaurant and started to walk back towards the theatre. We got to Covent Garden market and spotted a Cycle Rickshaw, so we decided that we would go on one of them back to the theatre if we could. (I’ve been trying to embed the video here but it’s so huge that it’s not working. Try here on my IG Stories)

We got back to the theatre in perfect timing. We got settled in our seats ready for the show and I was so excited I thought I might burst. The couple next to me seemed to be having a terrible time or something. The gent looked really miserable, his partner/wife seemed to be having a better time. By the end, she was clapping along but that was only in the last song or so at the end.

It was such an amazing day and I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to go. Very grateful to my Dad too who took us to the train station in the morning, collected Jaxon from school and then collected us from the train station in the evening.

To make sure I disclaim this properly, I won two tickets to see Come From Away in London. We were “audience members” for the three flash mobs/performances in Tottenham Court Road Station. Followed by dinner at Joe Allen’s. There was no need for me to blog about it/post on social media but I have done because I want to share my love of the musical and the community around Come From Away.

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