Review - Mamma Mia!

Although it opened in 1999, Mamma Mia! had never really been on my radar. I enjoyed the film and was fond of ABBA, but much like many of London's other long running musicals, I think I just expected it to be there forever, and so I could pretty much see it whenever I wanted to. However, at the end of the summer holidays (now a distant memory for the most part) my friend asked if I'd like to go along with her to see the jukebox favourite, and of course I jumped at the chance. 

Sophie Sheridan (Gabriella Williams) is about to wed her boyfriend at the beautiful Greek hotel her mother Donna (Dianne Pilkington) runs, and upon discovering her mothers old diary documenting the year she was pregnant, invites three men to her wedding, hoping that she will finally be able to identify her father. The story itself is a fun, somewhat unpredictable one, full of laughs, cheesiness and even a few tears. The music of ABBA fit the story perfectly, with songs such as Voulez-Vous, Lay All Your Love on Me and the title song Mamma Mia standing out as particular highlights. It was clear that the audience was loving the music, a testament to the timeless appeal of the Swedish pop sensation. 
However, it must be said that some elements appeared a little less age defying. Although I was impressed with the versatility of the set, and how reminiscent of Greece it was, I did think that it looked a little old and dated, and the same went for some of the costumes too unfortunately. I had expected a bright, glitzy, high energy romp, and found the production a little tame. I also found the sound too quiet at several points, and as such several of the big numbers had less feel good wow-factor, while ballads like The Winner Takes It All felt weak, despite the impressive vocals of Dianne Pilkington. 

All in all though, if you're looking for some harmless musical fun, Mamma Mia is a perfect candidate. Catch it on the West End or find out if it's coming to a venue near you when it tours the UK next year.