MAMMA MIA! (musical)
On a sunny Mediterranean island, a daughter on the verge of marriage learns
about her background from her 1970's party girl mother. Typical of that decade,
mom's story can be told totally through the medium of those Swedish superstars,
ABBA. And it is.
Transferred here from the Prince Edward Theatre on the 3rd June 2004
and from the Prince of Wales Theatre on 6th September 2012.
On 23rd August 2007, the show celebrated it's 3,500th performance in London.
One reader felt that, in May 2012, "The current stage show of "Mamma
Mia!" includes some swearing. We went to a Saturday matinee with three
under 10's and there were many other children in the audience too. I've
seen the show before and the film many times, neither has swearing.
There is no warning when you book tickets, but there is plenty of
swearing. Be warned. We were upset."
The monkey investigated, and was
told that the production hasn't changed and that around 3 words are used
in the course of the evening. Still, it hopes readers will make up their
Later review: Prince Of Wales Theatre: Monday 19th April 2010.
“Mostly Harmless.” That was a good enough revised opinion of planet Earth for
“The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” editor, and it’s a good summary of the
monkey’s revised opinion of "Mamma Mia." This edition of the show has two advantages.
First, the majority of the witless dance has been scrapped in favour of
choreography that seems to come from the film. Second, and far greater… this
show has Linzi Hateley in the lead role at most performances. The lady misses
one show per week (usually either a Monday or Thursday, but not always, and not
in a predictable pattern – and the box office don’t have her schedule alas), and
it’s very much worth making the effort to catch her. Years of experience produce
a perfectly judged performance, handling comedy, drama, dance effortlessly, and
producing her trademark
matchless vocals that carry the production for much of the evening. Her
professionalism showed in a perfectly timed ad-lib in response to a disruptive
audience member – also managing to deliver a ‘death beam glance’ in that unfortunate’s
direction as she did so.
Linzi Hateley apart, the show itself seemed tired. It may have been the “Monday
Night” effect – but there was a sluggishness to the bigger dance numbers and
delivery of comic lines that was noticeable by their failure to elicit much
response. The cast appeared to warm up a little towards the end (even the monkey
was up and dancing along at the finale), but there’s room for work.
In particular, Jessie May as Sophie would benefit greatly from a little time
with Bjorn or Benny at the piano. There’s a depth to her role that she clearly
yearns to explore, but appears not to have been given the attention needed to
help her to do so. Indeed, that possibly applies to much of the rest of the show
too. There’s a slight feeling of mass production which a director’s visit
(rather than the more usual stage or company manager’s work) would probably
dispel. A cast change – due in May 2010 – may help. Until then, this remains a
harmless, cheerful enough evening, lifted out of the ordinary by one of the
greatest leading ladies in the West End.
From the Prince Edward Theatre production:
Launching a broadside against this one will win theatremonkey no friends, he
knows, but here goes...
The music is well known to most people, toe tapping and inoffensive, the
stage set is functional and matches the story in both style and emotional depth.
But the Dance, the Dance. Saturday Night Fever is but a memory as the
witlessness of the choreography unfolds on the stage. A grafted story
theatremonkey can take, even admire the fact a bunch of unconnected songs can
become a tale at all, but why not give the show a little visual style - ABBA was
about glam after all.
A light evening of entertainment, but ballet fans may want to take a paper
10th June 2009: The monkey has just seen the film version of
this. While it would pay to see Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried live on stage,
otherwise it now forgives every flaw in the stage show.