Outside may be absolutely freezing (at least -1, in case you’re wondering), but in the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre last night we were transported to the sunshine of the Greek Islands, as once again, Sophie sent those letters off to her three possible fathers. And so begins what could be the most iconic, most fabulous jukebox musical of them all. Mamma Mia has memorable characters, bags of humour, and those fabulous, timeless Abba classics. It is probably the most fun you can have at a night at the theatre, and is destined to have audiences dancing and singing forever. Mamma Mia, here I go again, how could anyone possibly resist you?’
Sophie is getting married, and wants to invite her father. The problem is that she doesn’t know who he is, after reading her mom’s diary from 21 years before she finds there are three possible candidates, Sam, Bill and Harry. She invites all three to the wedding, unbeknown to her fiery, formidable, fiercely independent mother Donna. Donna had a somewhat wild past as the singer in a girl group, Donna and the Dynamos, and with the arrival of her former bandmates, Rosie and Tanya, as well as the three prospective dads, the stage is set for hilarious complications as Sophie tries to discover exactly who her dad is.
The thing about Mamma Mia that makes it irresistible is that it is just so joyful. All the songs are performed wonderfully, often hilariously, in an wildly over the top manner that just brings an instant smile to your face. Key moments include the very funny Chiquitita, where Rosie, Donna and Tanya camp it up a storm, ‘Does your Mother know’, which is totally turned on it’s head as the gorgeous Tanya fights off the advances of the much younger Pepper, and Lay All Your Love On Me, performed by a Greek Chorus of gorgeous men, wearing not much in the way of clothing, and flippers. If it sounds deliciously camp, then that is because it is. Totally glorious in fact.
In terms of the performances, the whole cast are having the time of their lives. Jess Michelmore has a stunning voice and is gorgeous as Sophie, at the heart of everything, she is perfect in this role. Sara Poyzer is a brilliant Donna. She is a great choice and her powerful voice rings emotion into her musical numbers, particularly the heartbreaking ‘Winner takes it all’ and the poignant ‘Slipping through my fingers’. Nicky Swift as Rosie and Sarah Earnshaw as Tanya, both shine in their roles, and steal a few scenes along the way. Richard Standing, Neal Criag and Phil Corbitt as Sam, Harry and Bill are all in fine voice, and contrast each other nicely (Donna sure has diverse taste in men), whilst the rather gorgeous Christopher Foley as Sky and Jaden Oshenye as Pepper, add some charm and athletic virility to their roles.
Mamma Mia is the ultimate feelgood, singalong musical, one that has now been delighting audiences for over 20 years now, and certainly wowed Wolverhampton last night. If you love the music of Abba, and are not put off by the sight of spandex and platform boots, this is the show for you. Mamma Mia….I might just go again.
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