London Theatre Review: Mamma Mia! – Would I go again?
| By Kay Johal
(Updated on May 14, 2019)
Mamma Mia! is the acclaimed jukebox musical that features the greatest hits of ABBA. The story revolves around a wedding on a Greek island, to which the bride, Sophie, has invited her three possible fathers. Hilarity ensues. Sophie discovers what she really wants, her fabulously independent mother, Donna, rediscovers her youth and everyone else pretty much has a jolly good time. I headed to the Novello Theatre to take my seat in the stalls to give this long-running show another spin on the jukebox.
The role of Sophie was played by the show's understudy, Charlotte O’Rourke. She began the show by presenting Sophie as very sure of herself, coming across quite capable and almost serious. Whilst this can perhaps be considered important for her ‘journey’ to becoming more carefree, when performing a song like Honey, Honey, I expected more giggly, juvenile characteristics to come to the fore. Her playful side definitely came through though as the show progressed. At the opposite end of the scale was Alec Porter’s performance as Sky. He was certainly committed, yet I felt he over-acted some parts, particularly the confrontation with Sophie towards the end, although this could have been down to a mismatch in energy, and lack of chemistry, between himself and O’Rourke.
The energy between Tanya (Kate Graham), Rosie (Ricky Butt) and Donna (Sara Poyzer), however, was electric. When these ladies came together, they lit up the stage. Mamma Mia! is a show that relies on the bond between its cast members as the plot leaves little room for meaningful character interaction; these ladies portrayed a real sense of life-long friendship which was a pleasure to watch. Graham as Tanya was particularly a force to be reckoned with. The dads were generally funny, and Neil Moors as Harry Bright conveyed “dork” adorably.
The ensemble were absolutely the highlight of this performance, especially Mark Isherwood who breathed life into the theatre – great dancing, great energy and some of the biggest smiles I have ever seen on a West End stage. The costumes were stunning. They were bright, unique and moved beautifully. The ABBA outfits in the finale were, in particular, a sight to behold. The band played with gusto and flair, brilliantly serving the auditorium with epic ABBA-realness. Anthony Van Laast’s choreography was sharp and a little quirky – which I loved. 'Lay All Your Love On Me' was sensational and one of my favourite numbers of the show; they danced with flippers on, how could you not be impressed by that?
Whilst this is not a show that relies so much on a plot, it begs you to leave your cynicism at the door in favour of the vibrant Mediterranean-madness Mamma Mia! has to offer.
Celebrate 20 years of Mamma Mia! with cheap London musical tickets from £30!
20 years and counting in London's West End with no signs of closing anytime soon, Mamma Mia! is a force to be reckoned with! Be the dancing queen that you are and book your tickets for Mamma Mia! The Musical at the Novello Theatre for just £30 and up!