Mamma Mia!

Mamma Mia!
Music & Lyrics: Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus. Book: Catherine Johnson. Michael Coppel, Louise Withers & Linda Bewick Production. Director: Gary Young. Choreographer: Tom Hodgson. Musical Supervisor: Stephen Amos. Lyric Theatre, QPAC. 26 December 2017 – 4 February 2018.

With filming just wrapped on Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, the second movie in the franchise, due for release in July 2018, it’s time to revisit the stage version once again.

This new production has a new set, new costumes and a younger cast. It still sounds the same, and the implausible plot is still the same, but it’s been given a whole new makeover. Fans who loved it the first time around are still going to love this version.

Jayde Westaby’s Tanya channels world-weary like a pro and blistered in her “Does Your Mother Know” routine with Sam Hooper, a fun and marvellously athletic Pepper. His back somersaults and aerial splits were ‘wow’ time.

Alicia Gardiner’s Rosie went for broad comedy, sang spectacularly, and nailed “Take a Chance On Me” with a very appealing Josef Ber as Bill. It might have been old-fashioned, and the politically-correct police would’ve been having a seizure, but allowing us to laugh at a ‘fat’ lady on stage again was a tonic.

Natalie O’Donnell’s Donna was hard to love. She sang well, but her intense playing of the character’s bitterness just overwhelmed. Likewise Sarah Morrison as Sophie - a thin voice, particularly in the lower register, and vocals that had more whine that sweetness.

Ian Stenlake played Sam with a warm blokey attitude and did well with his solo “Knowing You, Knowing Me,” whilst Phillip Lowe shone in his “Our Last Sumer” duet with O’Donnell.

Former Rocky Horror Show Brad Stephen Mahy had more than enough abs for Sky and almost dominated his dance routines with the guys.

The success of the production however must be laid at the feet of Tom Hodgson, whose choreography was always inventive and executed with flashy precision. Michael Azzopardi led an eight-piece group of musos who sounded like an ABBA tribute band, and while Gary Young’s direction had its clunky moments, the show still had the audience on its feet and dancing in the aisles at the end. Mamma Mia! here we go again!

Peter Pinne        '

Photographer: James Morgan

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