Reviewing a show that is in it’s 17th year is trickier than you think, as I imagine everyone knows the story already, but it’s easy to see why Mamma Mia! at the Novello Theatre is so successful and probably will continue to be for many more years.
Initially, I was slightly sceptical about seeing Mamma Mia!, as I am such a fan of the film. Although, if I’m honest, I actually only got round to watching the film in full late last year. I fell in love straight away, so much so that I would now class it as one of my favourite films. Though, after watching, I was slightly peeved that I had missed out on it for so long, I think this was because I had always been slightly put-off by the fact it was a rather “marmite” film; where people either loved or loathed it.
So, if any of these statements sound like they relate to you; did you dislike the film? Did you love the film, and question if it could be as good on stage? Have you not seen either?
Whatever it may be, please don’t let those reasons stop you from seeing this brilliant show, for it makes an exciting escape to a Greek island filled with comedy, drama, fun and romance with the iconic soundtrack of Abba songs!
I was slightly surprised to discover the differences between the film and the stage show, for some of the order of the songs are in different places and there are some additional scenes with extra songs, but I enjoyed these differences as it doesn’t make the film a complete copy of the stage production.
Obviously, the soundtrack is one that you are bound to know at least half of, if not more, so whether you’re a fan of Abba or not, their music and lyrics tie-in so perfectly with this story, it’s hard not to love.
Without wanting to spoil too much, one critique is that I wasn’t a huge fan of the “Under Attack” scene, as I just felt it wasn’t hugely beneficial to the story, but in spite of this, it still makes for an exciting visual performance on stage.
The ending also becomes a treat as the audience practically get transported to a “Donna and the Dynamos” concert, which leaves you no option other than to sing and dance along to some of the biggest hit songs!
This leads me onto the fact the audience was probably one of the most varied I have seen in the west-end; as there was a wide range of children, teenagers, adults and elders from all over the world, proving that this musical has something for everyone.
The Mamma Mia! cast were incredible, full of talent and fitting their roles brilliantly. The highlights for me were probably Mazz Murray as Tanya and Dianne Pilkington as Donna, but they were all brilliant. Also, on reading the programme I purchased, I was surprised to learn that a lot of the cast were making their west end debut with this show, yet they seemed like they’ve been doing it forever and I’m sure they will go on to succeed in many other shows.
The set was simplistic but still impressive and fitting. The costumes were beautiful, we have to mention the unforgettable 80s Lycra suits and applaud them right?
Overall, if you’re looking for high energy feel-good fun and some good laughs, Mamma Mia! is the show to see. I can’t see what there is to dislike about it and I’m sure you’re bound to leave singing the Abba back-catalogue and hungry for more of the Greek island adventure.
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