Mamma Mia is the feel-good jukebox musical of the summer, oozing with vitality and soundtracked by ABBA’s ageless classic hits.
Shortly after opening on the West End in 1999, Meryl Streep’s blockbuster film adaptation of the musical hit the big screen in 2008. With the film’s success, the musical has gone from strength to strength and this year Mamma Mia embarked on their first UK tour.
It’s a story of hope, friendship, family and love, all tied together with an amplitude of cheesy numbers performed in sizzling sequins and white lycra by the vivacious cast. Set on an idyllic greek island, young Sophie is about to get married and is desperate for her father to walk her down the aisle – although she doesn’t know who he is. After reading her mother’s diary, she invites her three potential fathers to her wedding, Sam (an architect), Harry (a British banker) and Bill (an Australian writer and adventurer.)
The production is excellent escapism as it takes you away from the dreary English weather and immerses you in a world of paradise. Through bright lights and beach vibes it creates a warm production, however the real warmth comes from the vibrancy of the cast. Every number has electric energy, creating a production bursting with delicious musical numbers.
The musical itself is utterly overdramatic and bursting with cringe-worthy moments – but each and every second is sensationally irresistible.
Lucy May Barker’s interpretation of Sophie showcases the character’s naivety in a sweet way as she captures the girl-next-door characterisation. Her vocals are divine, opening the show with I Have A Dream, she sets the tone with her charming disposition. Sophie’s relationship with her mother Donna is the real core of the show, as Donna sings Slipping Through My Fingers as she is helping her daughter get ready for her wedding – it is a tender moment that is bound to leave a lump in your throat.
Sara Poyzer’s performance as Donna is outstanding, her powerhouse vocals during The Winner Takes It All is commanding, as she communicates her previously tainted relationships with the three men who have suddenly re-appeared into her life. Poyzer’s comedy timing is flawless and she maintains a strong balance between her outlandish behaviour and hysteria against her more moving scenes.
The three possible dads, Harry (Tim Walton), Bill (Christopher Hollis) and Sam (Richard Standing) each convey a solid stereotype, which plays off on one another well. Donna’s reaction to their arrival is hilarious as she expressively displays her shock as her emotions begin to unravel. The script is faultless, as the hysteria around the three dads arrival becomes chaotic, the wit of every line heightens their characterisation which has the audience in stitches.
A fundamental theme of the musical is the significance of strong female friendships. Donna is reunited with her two former Dynamos Rosie (Jacqueline Braun) and Tanya (Emma Clifford). All three are eccentrically different but their dynamic is vibrant and creates a heartwarming sense of loyalty and friendship against all odds, they give an incredibly animated performance.
The ensemble are wholly committed to their roles and they bring a new lease of life to the production, with slick choreography that is charged with enthusiasm, the musical numbers are exuberant and outrageously funny.
Mamma Mia is on at the Birmingham Hippodrome for ten weeks this summer until the 3rd of September and tickets can be found here.