Written on: 21/03/2007 by kellinakm (1 review written)
The way the ABBA songs fit into the show, entertainment factor, easy light-hearted fun, great for anyone of any age, lots of comedy, ABBA tribute at the end.
Not much depth to the story but that doesn't really matter...
This show is light-hearted, it's camp, and it's fun. That's what you should expect from Mamma Mia!, currently showing in London at the Prince of Wales Theatre, just off Shaftsbury Avenue. It's the chick flick of the West End, a blockbuster hit musical that has been a sell-out for nine years. But be warned: if you are looking for something deep and engrossing, you're better off seeing 'Les Miserables' or 'Phantom of the Opera,' as this will not be for you. However, if you like ABBA or just want a fun night out, this is the show to end all shows.
Set on a make-believe Greek island, Donna is the owner of a taverna and mother to 20-year-old Sophie, who is about to wed her fiance Sky. However, before she can get married, Sophie wants to find her real father to give her away at the wedding. Minor problem: she doesn't know who her father is. Donna will not reveal his identity, which prompts Sophie to read her diary from 1979 (year of her birth). In it she finds three potential fathers -- Sam, Harry, and Bill -- all of whom her mother slept with during her summer of love. Sophie decides to use her upcoming wedding to orchestrate the meeting of the three potential candidates who, conveniently, show up without Donna knowing (never mind asking questions such as how she found them or why they all dropped everything to go to a stranger's wedding). The story really gets going when they arrive and find out just why they are there
The set, like the show itself, is rather basic -- there is a Greek taverna which you either get to see the inside or outside of. That's about it. Apart from Donna and Sophie, and the three potential fathers, the cast includes Donna's three sidekick friends who are primarily there for comic relief throughout the show, and a couple of guests from both the bride and groom (basically, enough people to fill up the set and provide backing vocals and choreography).
The choreography and costumes are as camp and catchy as the show itself. But that is what makes it so fun to watch. In one scene, during the second interval, Sophie has a dream sequence in which men in scuba diving suits come out dancing in their flippers and snorkels! In another scene, the girls are at Sophie's hen night party and the energy from the dancers is so contagious you feel as if you are amongst the guests celebrating with them. Not to disappoint, the show ends with the cast members turning out hit after hit of ABBA songs. The cast are dressed in tacky neon spandex, lycra and platform boots, reminiscent of a 1970s disco. This is definitely the time for the fans to get up for a dance and sing along, if that's your thing!
The story itself isn't all that enthralling but the real genius of the show, thanks to creator Catherine Johnson, is the incorporation of 22 ABBA songs into the storyline. The songs take on new and hilarious meanings which you would have never thought possible. She is able to turn a seemingly 1970s ABBA tribute into a surprisingly good musical. The prices of seats and a programme are typical of any show you see in the West End -- expect to pay about $50 per person for a reasonably good seat in the circle, and $10 for an accompanying programme. That can seem a little outrageous to be fair, but there are several half price ticket booths surrounding Leicester Square so you can grab yourself a bargain. How 'bout that.
The show is sparkling and downright fun. The combination of ABBA songs into the show creates a wonderful evening of light entertainment. Seventies tackiness mixed with its cheeriness makes it the perfect night out. My my, how can we resist you?!