Wednesday, 19 December 2012

Mamma Mia! the Musical: Theatre Review

Mamma Mia! is a musical based around the songs of ABBA, It first opened at the Prince Edward Theatre in 1999 and later transferred to the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2004. The musical will be moving to its third home in September to the Novello Theatre. A film version of the musical starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth, Amanda Seyfried and many more Hollywood names was released in 2008 and is the UKs highest ever grossing film.
The story follows Sophie, who is getting married to her Fiancé Sky, She wants her father to be present at her wedding but she doesn't know who he is. She steals her mother's diary and reads the entries from the time when she was conceived and she finds out she has three possible dads. She invites them all to the wedding and when her mother, Donna, finds out they are all at her hotel she goes mad! The production is directed by Phyllida Lloyd who does a brilliant job at working with the set which was designed by Mark Thompson, the set is two white curved walls that move around to create different locations. This clever piece of design makes the production for me; too much set would have ruined this musical so Marks designs work brilliantly within this show. Howard Harrison also produced a fantastic lighting design in this show; it worked remarkably with the other design aspects of the production. Although the design is very simple, it's perfect. Something that people often don't think about when watching this production is how such a simple design could work as great as it did.

Sally Ann Triplett plays Donna Sheridan in this production, she mothered Sophie brilliantly and the way she played the frustration of Donna was great to watch. However she did miss out on some of the big things for Donna, it seems some of the emotions in 'The Winner Takes it All' were lost in the theatrical side of the number but overall she gave a good performance. Joanna Monro as Rosie was brilliant, she really brought so much comedy to the role and after playing it for almost 5 years she must be a pro at knowing how to play it perfectly and she does just that! Kim Ismay as Tanya is also perfect casting, another actress who has been involved with the show for many years. All three actresses had an amazing relationship on stage and they really were brilliant together! Gary Milner, Neil Roberts and James Gaddas were great as the dads. Not one over shone another but all were great aspects to the show.
Charlotte Wakefield as Sophie Sheridan is another example of perfect casting in this show, she brings an innocence to the role with a fun side which translates great on stage. Her relationship with Abiola Ogunbiyi (Ali) and Tasha Taylor Johnson (Lisa) was something I found really fun to watch! Andreas Gyllander as Sky was a good sky, the character as a whole doesn't have a lot of stage time but for what he had he was great. He and Charlotte had a great on stage presence together.
The ensemble in this show were fabulous, whenever there was a big number everyone in the audience just wanted to join in with them! The narrative of this show isn't great, admittedly, but it's not a 'musical theatre' piece exactly, it's a fun night out and you're guaranteed a good night with this show. I thoroughly enjoyed this show, there is nothing like this on the West End at the moment and I'm not surprised it in its 13th Year.
No matter how many faults you can find in this production there is no denying it's a fantastic piece of entertainment and anybody would enjoy this show whether you're 8 or 80! If you're looking for a night of entertainment, laughs, classic songs and a show which will have you dancing in your seat then THIS is the show for you.

Rating: ***

Mamma Mia! currently plays at the Novello Theatre

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