Reviewed by Tiffany Markman: copywriter & editor, co-owner of Sing at my Party and adoring mom and wife, who tries to balance her chronic workaholism with her addiction to false eyelashes, caffeine, red wine, blogging about books, and Twitter.
The Mamma Mia movie of 2008 sucked, right? Right.
Pierce Brosnan should never be allowed to sing in public and even Meryl Streep couldn’t save him. But last night’s performance of Mamma Mia at Montecasino’s Teatro was so incredibly good that I want to watch the movie again.
It’s perfectly slick.
I laughed. I tapped my feet. I jumped up and down. I shrieked with delight, along with everyone else, when the first bars of my favourite songs could be heard. And, in addition to liking but not loving ABBA, I’m a notorious musical non-enthusiast who never offers standing ovations – so you need to understand how slick this show is.
For one thing, the cast is predominantly excellent – both in their singing and in their acting. For another, the staging is extremely simple, yet hugely striking. And the choreography, costumes, and translation of the story into theatre? All superb.
For the first time in 10 years, Johannesburgers are able to watch an international tour production of this popular musical (which, in its current iteration, has so far been enjoyed by over 4.5 million people in 77 cities). I saw the show when it was here 10 years ago and it was very sweet, but nothing special. This is a whole new ball game.
A plot summary
On a Greek island paradise, bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan posts three wedding invitations to different men, each of which could be her father. She doesn’t tell her mother or her husband-to-be and in the run-up to the wedding, fantastic chaos ensues. To the delectable tunes of 22 of ABBA’s greatest hits, including:
1. ‘Dancing Queen’
2. ‘Take A Chance On Me’
3. ‘Thank You For The Music’
4. ‘Honey, Honey’
6. ‘Super Trouper’
7. ‘Lay All Your Love On Me’
8. ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)’
9. ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’
10. ‘The Winner Takes It All’
The bottom line?
Mamma Mia is uplifting. As another reviewer put it (no, I can’t put it better): it’s ‘as shiny, wiggly and candy-colored as a big ol’ bowl of theatrical jello… with as much depth and complexity’. And all of the accompanying smoothness and slickness.
Age suggestion: Nice for the whole family, including kids over 10 or mature kids 8+. Book at the Montecasino Box Office or via Computicket.