Mamma mia is a west end hit based on the music of ABBA. If you haven’t heard of ABBA, where have you been hiding? The story was worked around some of the songs and worked to fit in. The premise involves a girl called Sophie who grew up on a Greek island with her mother and didn’t know who her father was. She discovers her mother’s diary and three possible suitors and invites them all to her wedding and all hell breaks loose.
The film was released in 2007 starring Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfreid, Colin Firth, Pierce Brosman and many more well-known actors. The film was a massive hit and ran in theatres for the whole summer. There were also sing along versions available in the screens. Safe to say no one was very tanned that summer. The film also promoted the tourism in Greece and the island where they filmed it was booked out for years.
When it comes to the musical it has a different vibe from the film. The atmosphere is more intense and the actors have to work hard to meet the expectations of the audience. The film raised the bar but does the show meet it?
I went to see Mamma Mia in New York back in 2013 on Broadway. This production is the same in the west end. The show is fast paced and opens with honey honey introducing the characters. Sophie played by Alice Stokoe. I feel she did a good job in conveying the emotion of the show. But there was something missing in her chemistry with Sky. The Sky in the production was an entirely different build and look from Dominic Cooper. It is hard to accept a change in actor in a role sometimes and I do try to keep an open mind but I just prefer Dominic Coopers character better.
There are songs included in the musical which aren’t in the film. I won’t say what they are in case you do decide to go and see it. But they are used to add drama and explore a little bit more about how Sophie is feeling and the conflicts inside her. The set changes around them which is a very interesting method using a turn table like in Les Mis and allows the flow between the scenes to be much more dynamic.
The music of the show is incredible. I think my favourite songs are Mamma Mia and Lay you love on me. Though thankfully SOS was singing well in this production as Peirce definitely butchered the song in the film. The character of Harry has more of an explanation for his lack of luck in relationships as this was not fully explained until the end of the film. Even then it was slightly lacking.
However, nothing can beat the relationship of the dynamos. These actresses have to show the bromance going on and it takes a good deal of comedic timing. The inside jokes and add on made the show and the outfits for super trooper where incredible.
I will say that as my first Broadway experience this was a good show to see. I wasn’t blown away as I was by the film but I don’t know if it was just from loyalty to my love of the film or is there was something missing in the dynamics of the character or less visual effects. I would be open to going to see Mamma Mia and revisiting my thoughts on the show but I cannot see myself willing booking it soon when I have a list of other shows to go see. But watch this space as there may be a tour on its way very soon.