Wednesday, 14 March 2018

Mamma Mia

This is glorious

A most delightful revival of this ever popular ABBA musical.
Review: Mamma Mia at the Capitol Theatre
Image: Australian production of Mamma Mia! The Musical. Photo (c) James D. Morgan.
The musical phenomenon Mamma Mia! has rocketed into the Capitol (or should that be a Greek island?) with this joyous revival.
Created by Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus of ABBA fame, and written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, this musical first opened in 1999. Regarded as one of the first ‘jukebox’ musicals, an estimated 60 million people have seen this show in 20 different languages all over the world – and it just keeps growing.
Mamma Mia! is the ABBA–based musical about a daughter’s (Sophie) quest to discover the identity of her father on the eve of her wedding. Sophie brings back three men from her mother’s (Donna’s) past, Bill, Sam and Harry, with the narrative told via appropriate ABBA songs including some fresh new arrangements by musical director Stephen Amos, the terrific band led by Michael Azzopardi, and showcasing Rex Goh on guitar. Mamma Mia! also includes fantastic roles for older women, manages to portray long term female friendships, and oozes compassion as well as focusing on the mother-daughter relationship. It has also been slightly rewritten by director Gary Young to Australianise and contemporise it.
This version is very slick and sleek, bright bold and colourful with a terrific cast who perform with incredible energy. The set with its huge revolve incorporates a crumbling island wall (rooms at Donna’s taverna and the open air restaurant section for example). The magnificent lighting by Gavan Swift is most spectacular (especially for the opening of the second half) and complements the action.
As young Sophie Sheridan, Sarah Morrison is enchanting and there are some very moving scenes with her mother Donna. Natalie O’Donnell (who played Sophie in the original Australian production) as feisty single mum Donna is a petite dark firecracker, revealing Donna’s aggravation, courage and conviction.
Among the possible fathers in this production, Josef Ber as Bill Austin, Ian Stelnake as Sam Carmichael and Phillip Lowe (who wowed us in Bigfish last year) as Harry Bright are all excellent in their roles.
Stelnake as Sam, an architect – who originally designed Donna’s taverna, is engaging and genial, Harry is portrayed by Phillip Lowe as unconventional and sweet and Josef Ber portrays Bill as a rather perplexed travel writer and they all sing gloriously. It is rather easy to empathise with Donna’s predicament!
Sophie’s fiancĂ© Sky is wonderfully played by handsome Stephen Mahy who sings and dances a dream. Sam Hooper and Alex Gibson-Giorgio as his pals Eddie and Pepper strongly bring their characters to life Jessica Di Costa and Monique Salle as Sophie’s besties and bridesmaids are also delightful. All four are tremendous in the huge ensemble numbers – Tom Hodgson has created some very difficult and demanding choreography blending several dance styles with some sizzling moves intricately and precisely performed. (The ‘Lay All Your Love on Me’ segment with the flippers and goggles is hilarious and heartwarming, Does Your Mother Know includes tango like moves for example.)   
Jayde Westaby and Alicia Gardiner almost steal the show as Donna’s best friends (The Dynamos): the tall, foxy, sultry, glamourous Tanya and vibrant Rosie. Westaby has much fun as Tanya rebuffing Pepper (Sam Hooper) in Does Your Mother Know? Gardiner (from TV’’ s Offspring) has great comic timing in Take A Chance on Me chasing Bill.
The opening night audience gave the show a rapturous reception. Thank you for the music …
Rating: 4 stars out of 5
Mamma Mia! The Musical 

Capitol Theatre, Sydney

Natalie O’Donnell - Donna Sheridan
Sarah Morrison - Sophie Sheridan
Alicia Gardiner - Rosie
Jayde Westaby - Tanya
Ian Stenlake - Sam Carmichael
Phillip Lowe - Harry Bright
Josef Ber - Bill Austin
Stephen Mahy - Sky
Monique Sallé - Ali
Jessica Di Costa (White) - Lisa
Sam Hooper -  Pepper
Alex Gibson-Giorgio - Eddie   
15 February - 6 May 2018

No comments:

Post a Comment