Wednesday, 9 March 2005

Mamma Mia! (The Musical) March 9, 2005

Mamma Mia! 

Music by Benny Andersson & Bjorn Ulvaeus Book by Catherine Johnson

Her Majesty's Theatre, Melbourne, March 9 to  June 9, 2005

Reviewer: Kate Herbert

The vibrant musical Mamma Mia! returns to Melbourne after four years with its nostalgic and eminently singable repertoire of ABBA pop tunes. Each song is a potential Eurovision Song Contest winner.

The opening night audience bopped and bounced in its seats to every beat and sang along with the catchy lyrics of Benny and Bjorn's immortal songs.

The beginning of the show felt a little uncomfortable. Some dialogue was too expository and there were occasional vocal pitch problems. These were overcome quickly.

The show hit its straps with the memorable Money Money Money, then Mamma Mia and Super Trouper.

The audience was delighted by every cunning segue from a line of dialogue into the opening lyric of a song.

Writer, Catherine Johnson, takes advantage of the impassioned, romantic lyrics, sung originally by Agnetha and Anni-Frid. Many ABBA songs are about relationships and lend themselves to a play about falling in and out of love.

The story is simple. Donna, played by the warm-voiced and passionate Silvie Paladino, (OK) runs a taverna on a Greek island. Her 20-year-old daughter, Sophie, (Kellie Rode) is to be married the next day.

The hitch is that Sophie, unbeknowns to her single mother, invited three of her mum's ex-lovers (John O'May, Bruce Roberts and Peter Hardy) to her wedding, hoping one of them is her unacknowledged dad.

Rode is perky and engaging as Sophie and her three "fathers" have fun with their goofy roles.

The show is stolen by the three older women on stage. (Paladino, Jenny Vuletic, Emma Powell) They appear together as Donna's old girl group, Donna and the Dynamos, decked out in Shiny Elvis suits singing Super Trouper and, in the finale, You Can Dance and Waterloo.

Jenny Vuletic is unbelievably sassy and magnetic singing Does Your Mother Know. Paladino's The Winner Takes It All is compelling and the final of I Do I Do I Do is delightful.

There are two huge dance numbers. Voulez Vous is a big chorus number in the taverna and under Attack is a marvellously quirky underwater dream sequence in wet suits, fluorescent goggles and snorkels

The second half is a musical rocket.  The audience stood and danced and sang in their seats during the finale. So should you.

By Kate Herbert for 1 pages:

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