Mamma Mia - 27 March 1999

Donna owns a taverna on a greek island, her daughter Sophie is about to get married and arriving for the wedding are Donna's old friends and one time group members of 'Donna and the Dynamites', 3 possible dads for Sophie and friends from both bride and grooms camps.

This is the setting for a musical based around Abba songs, sound corny ? Well yes it could be if taken too seriously but in 'Mamma Mia' the cast are in on the joke too. The success of this show will be because of the 70s generation and generations beyond love of Abba music and here there are a great selection of their most well known plus a touching song written by Benny for his 7 year old daughter which Donna sings to Sophie as she tries on her wedding dress. The cast deliver the songs brilliantly and the 4 feamle leads, Siobhan McCarthy as Donna, Jenny Galloway and Louise Plowright as Donna's friends Rosie and Tanya and newcomer Lisa Stokke as Sophie all created strong characters and have the voices to sing the songs with power and feeling. Sophie's intended, Sky had little to do and wasn't given enough character for us to really know what he was like. Hilton Macrae as Sam, Nicholas Colicos as Bill and Paul Clarkson as Harry provided strong support as the potential Dad's of Sophie and ex lovers, albeit very briefly for Harry and Bill, of Donna. The chorus provide boundless energy to the dance routines and round off an extremely strong cast.

The songs are slotted in extremely well with the story, with the lyrics very aptly fitting the situation. I particularly liked Donna, Rosie and Tanya cavorting around the bedroom to 'Dancing Queen' and Donna's 'Slipping through my fingers' as she wonders how time has moved on so quickly from when Sophie was a child. Knowing that some opening lines will get a laugh the performers wait for them and get them. Jenny Gallowway perfectly delivering the two best openings of 'Chiquitta tell me what's wrong' and 'If you change your mind'.

This show is bound to do well, the combination of Abba songs and excellent performances make this a most enjoyable way to spend a couple of hours. Abba fans will love it and even if you're not you should still have a good time !!

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