The show with the best ever finale! A load of camp old nonsense? Well yes, it’s both of those things – but don’t underestimate this theatrically camp and maybe OTT offering! Even if you enter the Milton Keynes Theatre full of doubt (as I did) it’ll have you standing and cheering at the end, guaranteed! (As I was!)
Unfortunately there’s quite a bit of scene setting that needs to be done at the beginning. This takes place 3months before the wedding of Sophie (Jena Pandya) and Sky (Toby Miles), so we find Sophie showing her two mates Ali (Jasmine Shen) and Lisa (Mariella Mazzilli) her mother’s diary giving details of three of her boyfriends just before the time of Sophie’s birth. One of them is probably her father! Wouldn’t it be great to have her true father give her away? That’s as much of the plot as I’ll give away, but the scene – though absolutely necessary, does take a while and would be tough for a seasoned performer let alone 3 of the younger members of the cast.
But don’t panic, after this slightly slow start, on bound Tanya (Helen Anker) and Rosie (Nicky Swift) who are soon joined by Donna (Sophie’s single mum played by Sara Poyzer)and things really start moving! As an ex three-girl singing group they certainly know how to perk things up and give it some welly!
From then on the very accurate renditions of ABBA songs flow almost non-stop, cleverly woven into the story. Even from the 3 Dads played superbly by Richard Standing, Daniel Crowder & Phil Corbett.
There’s lots of fine choreography which though fitted the 70’s theme didn’t for a second feel dated. Praise to choreographer Anthony Van Laast for that. Good to have some (if augmented at times) live musicians in the pit under the direction of Carlton Edwards.
The whole show is a lot of fun with plenty of good music. Plenty of laughs along the way – special mention for the hilarious routine with Rosie and Pepper (James Willoughby Moore).
If you doubt the idea of taking one singing group’s music and weaving it into a story, some have tried and failed – but Mama Mia! will prove to you that it can work and work spectacularly!
Mama Mia! is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 6th August.
Box Office: 0844 871 7615 or online www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes