Cockburn Gazette - - LIFESTYLE - Tanya MacNaughton

THERE was a time dur­ing re­hearsals for new Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion of Mamma Mia! the Mu­si­cal when cast mem­bers Ian Sten­lake, Phillip Lowe and Josef Ber felt they were in an en­tirely different show to the rest of the en­sem­ble.

The trio play So­phie’s po­ten­tial dads Sam Carmichael, Harry Bright and Bill Austin re­spec­tively and were work­ing on their open­ing scene where each is re­turn­ing to a Greek is­land af­ter 20 years to re­unite with old flame and So­phie’s mum, Donna.

“My favourite part of the show is our ar­rival scene,” Ber said.

“It’s a dou­ble-edged sword be­cause at one stage in re­hearsal we felt like we were in a play while every­one else was doing a mu­si­cal. We were seg­re­gated for a while and that bonded us fairly early.”

Sten­lake said it seemed a funny sit­u­a­tion be­cause they would be doing the scene in one re­hearsal room and would hear the en­sem­ble next door “singing their guts out”.

“We’d walk in there and they’d be ab­so­lutely wrecked and we’d be like: ‘Hi ev­ery­body, what a lovely cre­ative day’,” Lowe said.

How­ever, the scene is cru­cial to the mu­si­cal and Ber said al­though “the script is not Mamet” there was a lot to

mine from it about the dad char­ac­ters.

“They’re all there for a rea­son and not just be­cause some old flame gave us an in­vite to a wed­ding, there’s an­other spe­cific rea­son each of us has come back,” Lowe, who at­tended WAAPA, said. “That’s been the joy of it for me, flesh­ing out that side of it.”

The per­form­ers said the pro­duc­tion, which started its na­tional tour in Can­berra last year, was not just a suc­cess be­cause au­di­ences loved Mamma Mia! the Mu­si­cal but also be­cause they en­joyed this reimag­in­ing of it.

“It’s the same script but ev­ery­thing else is new, from the set to the cos­tumes and chore­og­ra­phy,” Ber said.

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