Take A Chance On... Mamma Mia! At The Novello Theatre

By Shaun Nolan
Thursday 22 October 2015

I have seen almost every single musical currently playing on the West End, but until the other week, Mamma Mia! was not one of them. I don’t have any particular reasoning for it, both because I love ABBA and I’ve loved the movie ever since I saw it in the cinema over seven years ago, so finally getting to see it live on stage in the West End seemed like natural progression.

Now I won’t lie and say to you that I left the theatre feeling like I’d gone and seen a show that has been defining musical theatre at its finest for the past sixteen years, but I did leave the theatre knowing I’d seen a show that was still some of the best fun you can have in the West End.
I think to understand this show for what it really is, you need to take it with a pinch of salt: this is a jukebox musical at its very finest so don’t be fooled by the idea of an elaborate tale of a daughter and her three possible fathers. You are still going to see a show that is jam packed with ABBA music that is performed with such focus on the music that it feels almost like a concert. If you’re into that kind of thing and are willing the leave the idea of musical theatre in its most classic form at the door then you’ll bode well with this show. If not, there are other jukebox musicals in town that might take your fancy instead (my favourite is Beautiful – The Carole King Musical which I actually reviewed last week).
Mamma Mia! is a show that I left feeling complete: I’d gone and seen a show that I already knew very well and left feeling like I’d gone and seen exactly what I thought I was going to be seeing. For that very reason, I’d argue that this show isn’t very go-back-to worthy purely because I don’t think it has that passion to drive me back there, but I did really enjoy my evening nonetheless. I loved how talented the cast were, the highlight for me being when the amazing Mazz Murray (who plays Tanya in the show) performing 'Does Your Mother Know' – it was a prime example of how fun a West End show can be and how much a talented voice really adds to a performance.
Though it was rather dated, the overall visual of the show was something else that I really enjoyed. I loved the colour palette used on the show and it’s nice to see that the overall set and costume of the show is kept feeling fresh, even though the show is set in the 90s and at times can feel like it’s stuck in the 90s. Numbers like 'Under Attack', which opens the second act, were so cringe-worthy in their ridiculous choreography and strange performance ideas but there was something so charming and funny about it when it’s mixed with the show’s costume and set design that makes it all the more enjoyable and all the less eye-roll-worthy.
In all honesty, even though flaws can be picked in this long-running jukebox musical, it’s still a show that I defy anyone to see and then try and saw that they didn’t have fun. You can’t help but sing and clap along at the very end of the show and I genuinely felt like I’d had one of the most fun and enjoyable nights on the West End in a while.
Have you seen the show already, what did you think? Tweet me what you thought of the show @shaunycat and if you haven’t seen it already or you really fancy a return trip, you can get your MAMMA MIA! tickets at


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Shaun Nolan

Shaun grew up listening to the cast recordings of musical theatre treasures like Miss Saigon and Cats before finding his own feet at a young age and exploring a wide breadth of musicals and shows by himself. Now that he's older and wiser, he loves nothing more than taking very regular trips down to London's West End to soak up the pure magic that he loves so much... and then coming home and sharing it with you on his own blog and London Theatre Direct.

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