Leeds Grand Theatre – 30 May to 8 July 2017.
Mamma Mia – here we go to Leeds for the first time ever. Entering the theatre on the blue carpet the heat from the packed auditorium made us all feel as if we were really on a Greek Island. And how can you fail to be entertained by a show that warns patrons of a nervous disposition that the show contains platform boots and white lycra.
The story – a captivating yet hilarious tale of family and friendship set on a Greek island is instantly enchanting whilst the iconic music and lyrics prove not just beautiful, but utterly relatable. That’s mainly thanks to the brilliant Abba songs, well sung and cleverly used, not just shoehorned in – The Name of the Game becomes a father/daughter song, and Does Your Mother know is a high energy dance number with a lot of laughs.
On the day before her wedding to Sky (Phillip Ryan), it transpires that Sophie (Lucy May Barker) has invited all three of her potential fathers to watch her marry. She shares the news with her best friends Ali (Fia Houston-Hamilton) and Lisa (Blaise Conlangelo) who are both appalled she read her mother’s diary and intrigued with what they find out.
Sophie’s mother Donna (Helen Hobson) is unsurprisingly shocked to discover her three past lovers – Harry (Jamie Hogarth), Bill (Christopher Hollis) and Sam (Jon Boydon) – in her taverna, the day before the wedding of the daughter they didn’t know existed. She shares her anger, fear and confusion with best friends and band mates Rosie (Gillian Hardie) and Tanya (Emma Clifford)
This show is full of strong women and the strong relationships they have: Mother and Daughter is covered through the tear inspiring song Slipping Through My Fingers, and friendship via Dancing Queen. Hobson’s rendition of Winner Takes It All is a gut wrenching, emotional powerhouse of a performance which deserved the applause it received
The set is simple but versatile with only a few moves turning it from beach bar, church, taverna and bedroom. The lighting is various shades of blue to represent the sun and sea and day and night.
Its a camp, boisterous, cheesy and exuberant show, filled with laughter and moments of great poignancy but by the end of the show the audience was up on its feet, singing and dancing to the encore version of Dancing Queen and Waterloo, whilst confetti was launched over the audience. With an array of sequined lycra, platform boots, ABBA melodies and an infectious story – this is a production that pulls out all the stops.
In Leeds until 8 July and on tour around the UK – grab your daughter, grab yours friends or go alone and make friends there – one of the best nights out you’ll have this year