Left – Alicia Gardiner, Natalie O'Donnell, Jayde Westaby. Photo – James Morgan
Mamma Mia! has certainly set the tone for the New Year for Brisbane theatre goers. It promised to be “the party of the year” and it is. Producers Michael Coppel, Louise Withers and Linda Bewick have brought a wonderful Australian ensemble together to deliver the feel good vibes this musical is famous for.
With nearly 20 years of world-wide production history and a Hollywood movie credit, Mamma Mia! is as popular a musical as they come. The heart that drives this joyful musical and makes it such a phenomenal success is the brilliance of ABBA songs woven into a storyline that hooks the audience as much as the music does. The genius of the Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus’s song writing, ABBA’s strong narrative led lyrics married to their infectious and moving pop music is celebrated so cleverly in the Mamma Mia! story.
A very young bride-to-be seeks the identity of her father. She discovers through learning about her mother’s adventurous and free-spirited past that her father could be anyone of three men. All set on a Greek island, what unfolds is a light-hearted farce with love, friendship and family triumphing.
Highly engaging and entertaining performances were given by all the cast. Those who saw the original Australian production will see a familiar face with Natalie O’Donnell, this time playing the mother Donna Sheridan. Her performance of ‘The Winner Takes It All’ was one of the stand outs. Jayde Westaby’s performance as Tanya was flawless with ‘Does Your Mother Know’ being sexy, suave and fun to watch. Alicia Gardiner delivered wonderful comical moments playing Rosie, providing the audience with laughs in ‘Take A Chance On Me’. Bride-to-be Sophie, played by Sarah Morrison, provided touching moments alongside her fiancé Sky, played by Stephen Mahy. Sophie’s potential fathers, Sam, Harry and Bill were played by Ian Stenlake, Phillip Lowe and Josef Ber, each one realising the stereotypical male roles with flair.
This production of Mamma Mia! has a new look, with the costumes, sets and choreography all having a make-over. Director Gary Young has infused local Aussie references into the script that charm and enhance the comedy. The choreography by Tom Hodgson dazzles and is an absolute delight to watch. Costume design by Suzy Strout was colourful, modern and sexy. The costumes and choreography mixed to create quite a few welcoming distractions thanks to the attractive array of very talented performers who adorned the stage.
Mamma Mia! is fun for all ages and is a joy to watch. The energy of the music, the party atmosphere and the vibrant performances are contagious. What completes the experience is the medley of ABBA hits at the finale, the whole theatre gets up onto their feet and dances and sings along absolutely ensuring you leave on a high. The Mamma Mia! party is on at QPAC don’t miss it!
Michael Coppel, Louise Withers & Linda Bewick present
music and lyrics Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus | book Catherine Johnson
Director Gary Young
Venue: Lyric Theatre, QPAC
Dates: from December 26 2017
From February 11 2018
From May 15 2018
From July 10 2018
Festival Theatre, Adelaide Festival Centre
From October 9 2018