Mama mia

Since bursting on to the theatre scene in 1999 Mama Mia has become a worldwide hit seen by millions of people, becoming the 8th longest running show in Broadway history and currently celebrating its 17th year in the West End.  The reason for this success is clear the moment the show starts with its medley of songs from ABBA played by the live band.  

This show is a must see with its catchy music, highly talented cast and ingenious set you are getting to see a full scale West End show at your local theatre.  The true stars of this show, other than the music, are the cast.  When a show has had such a successful film attached to it as this it is hard not to compare the cast to the film stars.  This cast make the film stars look like amateurs!

Helen Hobson, who plays Donna, Gillian Hardie, Rosie, and Emma Clifford, Tanya, form the key trio of the show.  Throughout the night they perform some of ABBAs best known hits with effortless ease and a humour that has the audience roaring with laughter on a number of occasions.  Their on stage chemistry is evident from the start and adds a real human element to the story on stage.

The male trio is played by Alex Bourne, Jamie Hogarth and Christopher Hollis.  Alex has the main male solo numbers and his voice is brilliantly suited.  All of the men act their characters superbly and their relationships with Donna keep the audience guessing and laughing throughout the show.

Lucy May Barker and Phillip Ryan complete the main cast.  They play out their young love story alongside Donna's and keep the audience entertained with their antics.  Both have a big future ahead of them in musical theatre.

The set for this show is quite simple, it only comprises 3 main pieces, but how the different pieces are used throughout the show to create different areas is a stroke of genius.  The same pieces of set can create large open squares and intimate bedrooms with a simple twist and immediately transports the audience to the Greek island where the musical is based.

Despite all of these amazing elements the real reason this show has become so successful is the music.  ABBA are one of the most successful bands of all time and their music is known across all generations.  The stage show features several songs that did not feature in the film and the start of the second half even featured a song I had managed not to hear before!  You spend most of the night desperate to sing along, the gentleman next to me did on a number of occasions! But hold in the urge, your opportunity will come at the end.  Once you think the show has finished, the cast have taken their bows, the lead characters suddenly disappear, a dazzling white lighting rig descends from the top of the stage and the cast reappear in the iconic lycra suits and platform shoes for a sing along dance section which the audience very enthusiastically joined in with.

One thing is certain, this show is ABBAsolutely what you should be seeing this evening! It is sensational, hilarious and impossible to leave without a smile on your face!  Get your tickets before it is too late!

Reviewed by Daniel Keen at the Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent.

This production of Mama Mia is currently touring the UK until 17th March 2018.  For more information and to book tickets visit the shows website.