I love the movie, so I was delighted to get asked to see Mamma Mia! last night at Liverpool Empire Theatre.
Sophie lives with her mother in Greece and is about to get married but she has never me her birth father. After reading her mum's diary from 21 years ago, she finds out that there are three possible men it could be and so invites them all to her wedding, without her mother's knowledge. As it dawns on each man what they are really there for, it becomes apparent that Donna might have a belated soulmate after all and that her daughter's need for the truth could provide her with the happy ending she has secretly craved all these years.
With an entire album's worth of Abba songs to indulge in, unlike some other musicals- everyone knew the words to the soundtrack so the audience participation was just as exciting to be part of as watching it.
What was once described by Classic FM as the 'ultimate feel good show'- this succinct review is still the perfect description for this production. Its timeless appeal makes it enjoyable for every generation and a great mood booster.
The cast was outstanding- Sara Poyzer as Donna, Sue Devaney as Rosie and Shobna Gulati as Tanya were the perfect trio and made you invest in their history as friends and bandmates.
Niamh Perry was very believable as a curious and innocent Sophie simply looking for her way in the world and made the most beautiful bride, even if it was just make believe. Sky, played by Justin Thomas certainly made the ladies in the audience sit up and pay attention during his half naked stag do preparations. So much so that one woman in the crowd shouted she would marry him when Sky and Sophie were having a tiff- which broke out in applause- the actors did very well not to laugh.
The three possible dads, Richard Standing as Sam Carmichael, Mark Jardine as Harry Bright and Michael Beckley as Bill Austin were talented at highlighting the distinct differences in each of their characters, but at the same time bounced off one another in their collective scenes.
The lighting and costumes made you feel like you were in the heart of the island soaking up the rays with the actors. The set was uncomplicated compared to some, but versatile, which made the actors performances shine though even more.
Much like a concert, the audience was begging for more and the cast performed three numbers at the end so we left the theatre singing the songs in the car ride home.
After having a pretty bad day- this was just what I needed to cheer me up- Mamma Mia! has the power to make you happy, grateful and want to get up and join in all at the same time. This definitely goes in my top ten theatre experiences. My partner had already seen it in London and loved it just as much the second time around.