Mamma Mia! is a jukebox musical written by British playwright Catherine Johnson. The many fans of the 2008 film will not be disappointed as the stage adaptation shines just as brightly. The show features many outrageously funny scenes and has that magical sparkle ABBA is so well known for. The show offers an immersive way to engage with the Swedish pop group’s biggest hits.
The show first premiered in 1999 and has been a hit ever since, drawing in crowds of enthusiastic fans as 70 million people around the world have seen the musical. Mamma Mia! Is set on a Greek island and follows the much-loved story of Sophie (Jena Pandya) a 20-year-old on her quest to find her father. However, the main issue is that her mother, Donna (Sara Poyzer) isn’t sure who it might be… After finding her mother’s diary, Sophie invites all three suspects (Harry, Bill, and Sam) to her wedding without telling anyone except her two best friends. Be sure that hilarity ensues as Sophie and Donna try to navigate the situation.
While the setting is very simple, it is effective in transporting the audience to a dreamy Mediterranean paradise. Despite no special effects or tricks, the cast delivers an emotional, light-hearted, and fun show. The current cast of the show is led by vocal powerhouse Sara Poyzer who is the perfect Donna: shocked by Sophie’s stunt, she hilariously navigates her feelings for the three men. Poyzer’s The Winner Takes It All is a true show-stopper and the emotion is palpable. Jena Pandya is charming as Sophie and watching her on-stage chemistry with fiancé Sky (Toby Miles) feels genuine and endearing.
The ensemble was absolutely the highlight of the show, especially Nicky Swift as Rosie and Helen Anker as Tanya. Both were absolutely incredible and hilarious in their performances and their vocal abilities will have you in absolute awe. The bright and unique ABBA-like outfits throughout the show were great to see – however, it was the grand finale that had everyone up on their feet and joining the fun. The actors gave it their all and the gusto and flair of their performance shined through. It’s clear to see that every aspect of Mamma Mia! was carefully created to bring pure joy and fun to the ABBA music lovers. With its high energy, impressive choreography and tongue-in-cheek humour, the show makes for a fantastic night out. Mamma Mia! proves it’s one of the longest-running shows in West End history for a reason.
With thanks to Joanna Zuchowska for this review. All images courtesy of King’s Theatre, Glasgow.