Touring – reviewed at Wolverhampton Grand Theatre
Mamma Mia! here I go again and it is glorious. I’m a huge fan of the show and indeed of Abba’s music and this exceptional piece of musical theatre ticks every box for me.
It’s got a cast de force, a list of musical numbers which are instantly recognisable and have my feet tapping and lips synching. Plus with a basic set and a few trucks, we’re transported to Greece – what’s not to love? There’s eye-catching choreography which showcases a talented ensemble too.
The story follows Sophie (played by the excellent triple threat, Lucy May Barker) who is on a mission to find her biological father, having been raised by her mum, Donna (Helen Hobson). The reason for tracking down daddy? She’s getting married to the love of her life, Sky (Phillip Ryan) and wants the her father to walk her down the aisle.
However, her mother’s diary from around the time of supposed conception cites that one of three men could be responsible for fathering the curious ‘child’. Therefore, Sophie resolves to invite Sam Carmichael (Jon Boydon), Harry Bright (Jamie Hogarth) and Bill Austin (Christopher Hollis) to her wedding in the hope of uncovering which one is the right candidate.
Cue much madcap hilarity as Sophie is reunited with her best friends and bridesmaids, Ali (Fia Houston-Hamilton) and Lisa (Blaise Colangelo), both of whom she reveals her plan to.
Donna also has her best friends flying over for the occasion; man-eater Tanya (Emma Clifford) and Rosie (Rebecca Seale) who are just the sort of supportive friends you need when three of your ex fellars are suddenly staying in your taverna.
It’s an interesting journey to the altar, punctuated with classic and well-timed Abba hits, from ‘One of Us’ to ‘Dancing Queen’ to a trippy rendition of ‘Under Attack’, and there’s also my personal favourite ‘Slipping Through My Fingers’.
Helen Hobson is resplendent as Donna, she’s maternal, skittish, witty and game for a laugh – has excellent rapport with her mates and extremely believable chemistry with Sam. Emma Clifford is a laugh a minute as Tanya, she’s elegant then she’s throwing herself into silly antics with gay abandon and ‘Does Your Mamma Know’ was one of the many highlights of the show. A standing ovation must go to Rebecca Seale who stepped in to understudy the role of Rosie, she brought great life and soul to the life and soul of the party, stunning vocal ability from Seale too. Jamie Hogarth made me smile as the somewhat uptight Harry, his strong vocals lent themselves superbly to the hits and he brought a wonderfully awkward quality to the character too. Christopher Hollis was equally engaging as Aussie Bill Austin, his scenes with Rosie were brilliant, a superb pairing. Jon Boydon put real heart into the role of Sam, the feelings the character has for Donna were palpable. All three dads were notably exceptional with effortlessly natural vocals which never waivered.
If you’ve seen it before, go again, if you’ve never seen it… GO! It’s the ultimate feel-good musical and you I know you won’t be disappointed, I do, I do, I do, I do, I do!