Touring – reviewed at New Oxford Theatre
Guest reviewer: Michelle Pont
You don’t have to be an ABBA fan to get caught up in this wonderful show. Full credit to the talented performers who, with boundless energy, dance and sing their way through the show, giving life to the music and storyline.
This production of Mamma Mia!, direct from London’s West End, really shouldn’t be missed by any musical lover. Choreographed to perfection, by Anthony Van Laast, it’s a pleasure to see every movement being part of the performance. Stage sets are danced in and off with seamless effort.
The boys in the ensemble and Louis Stockil as Pepper and Brad Veitch as Eddie take the show as eye candy. They manage doing some amazing acrobatics including impossible leaping press-ups, high kicks and exceptional dance moves. The extra bonus was their display of their bare chests and muscles. Hot stuff!
There’s a standout performance from Kay Milbourn as Donna. She punched out some wonderful songs. Her performance was natural and believable. Watch out for her rendition of ‘The Winner Takes it All’, which she sings with such conviction and meaning, managing to bring a tear to my eye.
My other standout was from Jamie Hogarth playing Harry Bright and singing ‘Our Last Summer’. Jamie’s performance is of course wonderfully acted and he has a lovely voice. And of course, the brilliant performance of Rosie by Gillian Hardie along with her sidekick Emma Clifford as Tanya. Gillian put her soul into the performance and won the audience with her comic portrayal. Emma strutted the stage giving her character the panache it deserved and keeping the comic timing and performance well-heeled.
Christopher Hollis’ portrayal of Bill Austin, an Aussie roughneck was excellent. His accent was faultless, and in fact, I thought he was Australian. His performance also was faultless. The whole cast are brimming with talent. The Orchestra didn’t miss a beat and were also outstanding.
A standing ovation was given at the end of the show and it was well deserved. Two encores were fabulous which saw all six main characters dressed in the iconic sparkly ABBA jump suits. I can’t help but think they all enjoyed wearing and performing in these outfits.
No matter what you think of ABBA’s music, this show puts meaning to their songs and crafts an enjoyable night of entertainment- get yourself there! The tour is performing around the country 2017/18 so there is still time to catch it. Praise to all involved in this production.
Mamma Mia runs at the New Oxford Theatre until November 25th before continuing its tour.
Photo credit: Brinkhoff M Âgenburg