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Apr 12th, 2012
The original 'jukebox musical', which by definition makes it unique and brilliant in its own very special, very glittery, sort of way.
But ignore the sniping and snearing that has been aimed at the long line of copycat musicals attempting to do what Mamma Mia! achieved. We all wish we could have had an idea as smart as this, and hats off to Judy Craymer for her tenacity and for pulling together Abba's great catalogue of one smash hit song after another with a witty and engaging story that is all very '90s - a mother, a daughter, and 3 possible dads!
Let's not get hung up on the plot too much, Shakespeare it isn't. All you need to know is that its fun, moves along at a pace and keeps the suspense going through two hours and 30 minutes without flagging. A deceptively simple set gives the back drop to the cast to let them showcase the sheer energy and excitement of the music.
About halfway through the first half you find yourself playing the 'guess the next song' game as the plot and dialogue guides you on. And then you graduate on to the intermission when you and your companions work out which songs haven't been sung yet and organise a sweepstake of 'which character gets to sing The Winner Takes It All' .
The real success of Mamma Mia! is of course the canvas it creates to show the musical genius of Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus. They never set out to be a Rodgers & Hammerstein or work for the stage, but the quality of their work stands up to all comparisons and the theatrical setting gives new meanings to some very familiar lyrics. The most telling moment of all is the beautiful 'Slipping Through My Fingers' in which the mother/daughter relationship at the heart of the show reaches its conclusion.
But enough of that! This is basically a party and if you're not on your feet dancing along to the big finale then you went to the wrong theatre.
The ideal 'girls night out' musical, particularly for mothers and daughters of all ages. For the smart men this is the perfect birthday treat / Valentine's gift to show you care and can get in touch with your feeling side! And if you're a man that can't help being in touch with your feeling side, then you'll love every minute. Children under 10 may find the show loud and at 2 hours 30 minutes it will lose their attention.
This is a show that you cannot get close enough to so front row seats are highly recommended.
View our show pages for more information about Mamma Mia!, Sunderland Empire.
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