Mamma Mia! (4 stars)

This article is from 2016.

Review: Mamma Mia!

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

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. Since premiering in London this funny comedy has been seen by over 54 million people all around the world. Featuring songs including 'Dancing Queen', 'Super Trouper' and 'Take A Chance On Me'.

New Theatre, Oxford

Tue 14 Nov

£17.50–£68.50 / 0844 871 3020

Wed 15 Nov

£17.50–£68.50 / 0844 871 3020

Thu 16 Nov

£17.50–£68.50 / 0844 871 3020

…and 8 more dates until 25 Nov

Novello Theatre, London WC2B

Thu 19 Oct

£18–£120 / 0844 482 5170

Part of Family Arts Festival.

Fri 20 Oct

£18–£120 / 0844 482 5170

Part of Family Arts Festival.

Sat 21 Oct

£18–£120 / 0844 482 5170

Part of Family Arts Festival.

…and 113 more dates until 3 Mar 2018

Royal and Derngate, Northampton

Tue 23 Jan 2018

£15–£53.50 / 01604 624 811

  • 19:30

Wed 24 Jan 2018

£15–£53.50 / 01604 624 811

  • 19:30

Thu 25 Jan 2018

£15–£53.50 / 01604 624 811

  • 14:30
  • 19:30
…and 8 more dates until 3 Feb 2018

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