When it comes to musical theatre there's the serious emotion evoking, have a box of tissues ready shows like Les Miserable and Phantom of Opera, then there's family friendly upbeat shows like Wicked and The Lion King and then there's the guilty pleasure, cheesier than a 'four cheese' pizza show that is Mamma Mia!, a musical like no other. Mamma Mia! is full to the brim with sexual innuendoes, toe tapping catchy music and it is topped off by a series of great actors. It's a show that everyone from Grandparents to Grandkids can enjoy and if you're a closet ABBA fan like myself, it's a must-see production.
The story revolves around a young girl named Sophie who is looking to her find her father so that he can walk her down the aisle on her wedding day and the story is depicted through a well thought out selection of chart topping ABBA hits. To date, the show has been seen by 60 million people in 50 productions in 16 different languages grossing more $2 billion at the box office. In 2011, it became the first Western musical to ever be staged in Mandarin in the People's Republic of China and now Mamma Mia! is currently on its first ever UK Tour, receiving great critical and public acclaim.
It was in Manchester last week that I first saw Mamma Mia! the musical and I have been singing ABBA songs everyday since I left the theatre, it made such a lasting impression. No wonder Mamma Mia! has been seen by more than 10% of the entire UK population. It has been the first musical that I have seen where almost the entire audience were stood on the chairs dancing and singing to the music - it was like everyone was drunk on the adrenaline of watching the show and the laughter and smiles from all around the theatre felt contagious. It was hard to watch this production and not feel good about life and it was great to see the younger people in the audience singing ABBA songs like it was the music of their generation - this musical goes to show that ABBA songs are timeless and their music has no age limit. My parents, both original 70s ABBA fans and myself, a musically inherited ABBA fan had so much fun watching this production and have already made a promise to see the show again when we're in London or the next time it comes back to our 'neck of the woods'.
Mamma Mia! originally opened in London at the Prince Edward Theatre on 6 April 1991, before transferring to the Prince of Wales Theatre in 2004. The musical re-opened at the Novello Theatre in 2012 and this April Mamma Mia! celebrated it's 17th London birthday. If you're interested in seeing the show (which I would thoroughly recommend) Mamma Mia! is being showcased at the Novello Theatre, Aldwych, London. Alternatively, you can look out for a show coming to a town near you, the Mamma Mia! UK tour next stop is Nottingham.
Have you seen Mamma Mia! before?