Mamma Mia! is in Milton Keynes Theatre this week. This gem of a musical with music from Abba’s back catalogue make this top of your list for a must-see show. Abba are currently enjoying new found popularity with their new Abbatar show, so seeing Mamma Mia! couldn’t be more perfect in its timing. I cannot believe that there is anyone on the planet who hasn’t heard an Abba tune. Mamma Mia! needs no introduction. It showcases all those fabulous tunes in a jukebox musical that tells a story of a girl trying to find out who her dad is before she gets married. The show incorporates humour, love, family and has heart. It’s the ultimate feel-good musical all set on an idyllic Greek Island.
Some scenes are so spectacular they deserve a special mention. Slipping Through My Fingers is a heart-rendering song about your children growing up. The words are poignant and it is perfectly placed in the show. Sara Poyzer as Donna gives an outstanding performance in this piece which had me in tears. The opening scene in act two is another stand out act as Sophie has a nightmare about who will give her away at her wedding. It’s interesting as Under Attack isn’t one of the obvious Abba hits but the scene is very memorable and very well executed. Lay All Your Love On Me is set during Skye’s stag do. All his friends are in scuba gear and dancing which is comical, memorable and quite a talent too. Does Your Mother Know? is another comical piece with Tanya trying to stave off Pepper's advances as he is too young for her.
The cast are exceptional and give a well-rounded performance that really completes the show. Sara Poyzer plays Donna and is a very natural Donna which makes her perfect for the role. In The Winner Takes It All she gave such a powerful and emotionally charged performance. Donna is supported by her two friends; Tanya played by Helen Anker and Rosie played by Nicky Swift. You couldn’t find two more opposite personalities than Tanya and Rosie but Helen and Nicky give great performances that make it feel authentic. Donna and the Dynamos are unstoppable!
Jena Pandya plays Sophie and has such a perfect voice and demeanour for the role. She is outstanding and the best Sophie I have seen. The three potential dads are Harry played by Daniel Crowder, Bill played by Phil Corbitt and Sam played by Richard Standing. They all give great performances. Daniel playing Harry is fun and I enjoyed him in Our Last Summer. Bill played by Phil made me laugh throughout; I loved his emphasis on his northern accent and how he reacts to Rosie in Take A Chance On Me. Sam played by Richard is amazing. I really felt his reluctance to be there and face up to what happened 21 years ago – he and Sara are married in real life so you can feel the chemistry between them on stage. A special shout out to Pepper played by James Willoughby Moore who not only could out dance everyone on stage but was joyous to watch.
Mamma Mia! is a star in the world of feel-good musicals. Its toe-tapping-singalong-arm-waving enduring Abba songs make it one not to miss. So, if you have a hole in your soul, if you want to take a chance (on me) and if you have a dream – that dream is go see Mamma Mia! – its all you need for a fabulous night out!
Mamma Mia! is at Milton Keynes Theatre until 6 August and then continues its UK tour.