Mamma Mia! (4 stars)

Lively Greek island romp delivers one chart hit after another

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Review: Mamma Mia!

Throughout their chart-topping years, Abba had the ability to capture ears of all persuasions. Everyone from musos to those who only cared about a good beat on the dance floor loved their work. And clearly, Mamma Mia! is trying to do the same.

The acting is strong, the vocals even stronger, characters are well-rounded and likeable and the story, far-fetched as it is, has a beating heart. So if you like your musicals upbeat and fun, with a tender sucker punch before a happy ending, this is the place to be.

Inevitably, some of the 23 Abba songs included in the show feel a little shoe-horned, but most slide in naturally and, with the slightest of lyrical tweaks, fit the narrative perfectly. Which is testament to both the cleverness of Catherine Johnson's script, and the wonderful storytelling inherent in almost all of Abba's hits.

Set on a Greek island, where mum Donna and daughter Sophie have got by without a father figure for 20 years, the show has a sun-dappled feel that leaves you longing for a holiday. With three men in contention for the role of papa, and Sophie's wedding fast approaching, humour abounds as the stag and hen nights get underway and hormones run amok.

The sexual references, both verbal and physical, have had a subtlety bypass. But with every grope, hump and double entendre going down a storm, clearly the show knows its audience.

Edinburgh Playhouse until 7 Jan, 2017

Mamma Mia!

  • Directed by: Phyllida Lloyd
  • Written by: Catherine Johnson, Benny Andersson (music & lyrics), Bjorn Ulvaeus (music & lyrics)

The smash hit musical based on the songs of Abba continues to storm the UK.

Brighton Centre

Tue 15 Aug

£15–£50 / 0844 847 1515

Wed 16 Aug

£15–£50 / 0844 847 1515

Thu 17 Aug

£15–£50 / 0844 847 1515

…and 15 more dates until 3 Sep

The Grand Theatre & Opera House, Leeds

Tue 30 May

£26–£59.50 / 0844 848 2700

  • 19:30

Wed 31 May

£26–£59.50 / 0844 848 2700

  • 19:30

Thu 1 Jun

£26–£59.50 / 0844 848 2700

  • 14:30
  • 19:30
…and 32 more dates until 8 Jul

The Marlowe Theatre, Canterbury

Tue 11 Jul

£29–£59.50 / 01227 787787

  • 19:30

Wed 12 Jul

£29–£59.50 / 01227 787787

  • 19:30

Thu 13 Jul

£29–£59.50 / 01227 787787

  • 14:30
  • 19:30
…and 14 more dates until 29 Jul

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