I grew up with Abba (not literally). So any concert or show featuring their songs is bound to appeal to me to a certain extent.
Even so, Mamma Mia at the Mayflower Theatre is a joy: a story of love, human emotion and intrigue cleverly written to incorporate much of Abba’s wonderful and almost-never-ending back catalogue.
I’ve seen the film (who hasn’t?) but hadn’t watched a stage version of Mamma Mia and didn’t quite know what to expect.
In fact the plot and characters are pretty much the same as those found in the big-screen version that broke so many records when it came out eight years ago, though with a few exceptions and variations.
It has everything, really - characters you quickly come to know and care about, humour (some subtle, some slapstick, some of the killer one-liner variety), colour. And music. Of course it has music.
Abba hit follows Abba hit, including some, like Under Attack and Our Last Summer, that were lesser-known when the Swedish supergroup first made them but have become almost as familiar now thanks to the film and to a stage show that has been seen by so many in West End and elsewhere.
Sara Poyzer’s Donna Sheridan is the star - and the best singer too - as we follow her struggle to cope with the twins stresses of her daughter’s wedding and the simultaneous arrival on her Greek island of three men, any one of which could be the true father of the bride.
Sophie, Sky, the ‘three dads’ and Donna’s former Dynamoes all bring different qualities to the plot too.
The set, by today’s standards, is simple. Simple but very effective. There’s no need for anything extravagant, or any special effects, when the story being told is so strong.
If you liked Abba, you will love Mamma Mia. If you didn’t, you may well still love it.
It’s a treat to have a production of this calibre on the south coast, so to potential audiences I say: See it while you can.
And to all those involved in putting it on, I say... thank-you for the music...
* Mamma Mia, on at the Mayflower Theatre until October 15. Book at www.mayflower.org.uk or on 02380 711811.
Mamma Mia is followed by some other superb-looking productions at the Mayflower.
Among them is Wind in the Willows, the next pre-West End blockbuster coming up this autumn (November 10 to 20).
This is a brand-new musical from the pen of Julian Fellows which is touring to three venues before going into the West End.
Book at www.mayflower.org.uk or on 02380 711811.
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