ABBA MU­SI­CAL TAKES IT ALL

Cockburn Gazette - - MUSICAL - Tanya Mac­Naughton

WHEN Judy Craymer con­ceived Mamma Mia! the Mu­si­cal (it pre­miered in Lon­don in 1999) she showed just how an artist’s discog­ra­phy should be wo­ven to­gether to cre­ate a co­he­sive sto­ry­line.

More re­cent ex­am­ples of this mu­si­cal for­mat have demon­strated it may not be as suc­cess­ful or as easy as she made it look, which makes the ABBA-in­spired show all the more ad­mirable.

The new Aus­tralian pro­duc­tion, which opens at Crown Theatre Perth on May 15 as part of a na­tional tour, con­tin­ues the his­tory of the show’s epic in­ter­na­tional suc­cess and de­liv­ers a night of much-loved mu­sic at the theatre, which this re­viewer ex­pe­ri­enced on a re­cent trip dur­ing the Sydney sea­son.

The set, with its white walls and blue win­dow shut­ters, im­me­di­ately trans­ports you to the Greek is­lands, while a med­ley of those fa­mil­iar ABBA tunes get the toes tap­ping and the head bop­ping.

So­phie (Sarah Mor­ri­son) opens the show, skil­ful in singing I Have A Dream be­fore her brides­maids ar­rive and the au­di­ence is wit­ness to the premise of the story dur­ing Honey, Honey, pre­sented with youth­ful en­thu­si­asm.

So­phie, raised by her sin­gle mum Donna (Natalie O’Don­nell), has never known who her fa­ther is and, un­be­knownst to her mother, has in­vited the three pos­si­ble sus­pects to her wed­ding with fi­ance Sky (Stephen Mahy).

The ar­rival of Donna’s friends (in a pre­vi­ous life­time part of Donna and the Dy­namos) Tanya (Jayde Westaby) and Rosie (Alicia Gar­diner) is only the begin­ning of this hi­lar­i­ous team, whose comic tim­ing and one-lin­ers through­out the show are to be ap­plauded – and they are.

In fact, the en­tire cast looks like they are en­joy­ing them­selves on stage as much as their au­di­ence is en­ter­tained watch­ing them.

The trio of prospec­tive dads soon ar­rive, with suave Sam (Ian Sten­lake), lov­able but geeky Harry (Phillip Lowe) and ad­ven­tur­ous care­free glo­be­trot­ter Bill (Josef Ber) and the mar­vel­lous may­hem be­gins.

The cast is flaw­less per­form­ing

The cast of Mamma Mia! - Alicia Gar­diner, Phillip Lowe, Jayde Westaby, Ian Sten­lake, Natalie O’Don­nell, Stephen Mahy, Sarah Mor­ri­son and Josef Ber.

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