A Greek taverna was brought to life with the musical hits of ABBA when Mamma Mia! opened at the Royal Theatre on Tuesday. The popular Broadway musical came to Victoria in the last three weeks of its two-year tour.
Mamma Mia! tells the story of a young woman, Sophie Sheridan, who lives on a small Greek island with her mother Donna. Sophie is about to get married and is on a search for her father but there is a twist. Sophie has three possible dads! The musical follows Sophie’s search leading up to her wedding with humour and of course lots of singing.
As a fan of the 2008 movie Mamma Mia!, which starred Meryl Streep and Amanda Seyfried, I was excited to see how the Broadway musical would compare. The musical was, no surprise, even better than the film.
The costumes through out the show articulated exactly what Mamma Mia! is all about, fun and drama on a tropical island. From sparkling 70’s inspired bell bottoms to hippy and bohemian influenced casual wear, I felt as if the cast could jump off the stage and take a swim in the beautiful emerald waters of Greece.
The best part of the night came in act two when Donnas’ two best friends, Tanya and Rosie, try to cheer her up by singing “Chiquitita” and “Dancing Queen.” During both these numbers Alison Ewing (Tanya) and Mary Callanan (Rosie) insert side stitching humour and goofy attitudes into cheering up a friend. Between dressing up in over the top costumes with bright feather boas and jumping on the bed like young kids the pair had the whole theatre roaring with laughter.
When the show ended I made sure to stay past the standing ovation. Once the bows were done the cast carried on into a three-piece encore that featured more colourful costumes.
During Waterloo, Donna and the Dynamos came out in yellow, purple and green 70’s inspired shiny disco suits, complete with silver go-go boots the trio looked fantastic. Their number was only topped when the three male leads that played Sophie’s Dad’s, who came out in matching sparkling suits and go-go boots, joined them.
The encore had the whole theatre out of their seats, including the skeptical women I sat next to who appeared to be uncomfortable with musicals and audience participation. By the end of the show everyone, even the skeptics, were up on their feet dancing, clapping or singing with the cast.
Mamma Mia! will run at The Royal Theatre until August 5 with tickets for purchase at http://www.rmts.bc.ca or at the theatre box office. Partially obstructed view seats are on sale $20 off. Available by phone or in person at the box office. 250-386-6121 or toll free at 1-888-777-6121.