The music of ABBA is evergreen and imbues everything it touches with the same immortality. That’s why 20 years after the first production Mamma Mia! is as popular as ever. A new Australian show is now touring nationally, drawing seasoned fans and converting first timers to its magic.
Director, Gary Young and a very talented crew – Tom Hodgson (choreography), Linda Bewick (set design) and Suzy Strout (costume design) among them – have revamped the show with a fresh, inventive stage set; exciting dance routines; imaginative costumes; and a few cheeky Aussie references.
Many of the cast worked together in a previous production of Mamma Mia!. Notably, Natalie O’Donnell and Alicia Gardiner who play Donna (the mother) and Rosie in this show, played Sophie (the daughter) and Ali in the original show. The rapport and conviviality of actors on stage is palpable and infectious. Stephen Mahy (Sky) agrees:
“That’s the beauty about this cast, everybody feels like it’s an open and caring space.”
While the popularity and familiarity of the songs have a lot to do with the appeal of this musical, Sarah Morrison, who plays Sophie, believes it goes deeper:
“The songs sort of mesh beautifully with this love story and it’s all about family and love.”
The 22 ABBA songs featured cover a vast emotional spectrum and accommodate the story remarkably well with only minor lyric tweaks.
Although many people have already seen a stage version or the Hollywood screen adaptation, this new production promises fresh delights and some pleasant surprises.
So… Mamma Mia! – you should go again!
Feb 11-Apr 22. Capitol Theatre, 13 Campbell St, Haymarket. $79-$150+b.f. Tickets & Info: www.capitoltheatre.com.au
By Rita Bratovich