- Kelly Apter
- 1 December 2016
This article is from 2016.
Lively Greek island romp delivers one chart hit after another
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