Touring – reviewed at the Mayflower Theatre, Southampton
Mamma Mia! made its debut appearance in the West End during 1999 and went across to Broadway in 2001. Since then this musical has continued to draw in the crowds. Director Phyllida Lloyd has bought to this latest touring version to the stage.
There is a good chance if you’re reading this review that you’re already aware of the storyline behind the hit musical Mamma Mia!, based on the songs by Abba. Donna’s (Sharon Sexton) two life long friends Rosie (Nicky Swift) and Tanya (Helen Anker) arrive on the island to celebrate Sophie (Emma Mullen) and Sky’s (Toby Miles) wedding unbeknown to Donna there are three other guests from her past that have been invited to this wedding as well. What could possibly go wrong?
James Willoughby Moore who plays Pepper as one of Sky’s principle best men is an absolutely outstanding dancer. His footwork, rhythm and movement are an absolute pleasure to watch. His performance in ‘Does Your Mother Know’ shows him to be one of the outstanding cast members to me in this production.
Sexton gives an extremely passionate and emotional performance as Donna during ‘Winner Takes It All’ when she addresses one of Sophie’s potential fathers, Sam (Rob Fowler), just before the wedding. They discuss who’s going to give Sophie away on her big day but for Donna that was never even a consideration as she was always the obvious choice.
Associate costume designer Nichola Treherne has created some fabulous wardrobe designs. The bold glamorous cabaret style costumes worn by Donna and her friends at the hen night performance bring the stage to life with a huge dose of bling. My favourite scene was the unusual fluorescent ensemble outfits worn during the opening scene of Act Two in Sophie’s dream which enhanced the dreamlike spell she was under.
Choreographer Anthony Van Laast deserves a special mention for all the work he has put into this production creating some very impressive dance routines. It’s not every musical where you can see an ensemble of men dancing in flippers.
There was a really good party atmosphere at the end of Mamma Mia which saw quite a large proportion of the auditorium get up, dance and sing along to the final numbers before the cast took their final bows. Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus famous music from ABBA still has exactly what it takes to entertain audiences.
Running from the 11th-29th February 2020 please use the following link for more information https://www.mayflower.org.uk/
Photo credits Brinkhoff-Moegenburg.