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Review - Mamma Mia: a foot-stomping hit

Mamma Mia!

Music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Bjiorn Ulvaeus

Book by Catherine Johnson

Directed by Madeleine Johns

Choreographed by Meredith Johns and Guilia Bortolanza

Musical Director Helen drew

Redcliffe Musical Theatre

The Redcliffe Entertainment Centre

Season: March 13-22. Bookings:

If you enjoy toe- tapping fun at the theatre, you won’t be disappointed by Redcliffe Musical Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia. This musical is based on the book by English writer Catherine Johnson, originally conceived by Judy Craymer, and features catchy foot stomping music and lyrics composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former ABBA band members.

Director Madeleine John’s vision for this musical is clear, colourful and focused; her beautifully costumed cast, give energised and well- rounded performances. Supported by her musical director Helen Drew and choreographers Meredith Johns and Giulia Bortolanza, Madeleine’s on-stage technical vision comes to life with effective vocal work and spontaneous dance routines, all set against a white Mediterranean style set. The mixed-aged ensemble, performs with excellent timing, quick cue pickup and routines which in turn help facilitate some awkward scene and music changes.

Georgia Burnett played 20 year old Sophie Sheridan, the illegitimate daughter of Donna, played by the talented Meg Kiddle. It is the eve of her wedding and although Donna hasn’t accepted her daughter’s decision to marry Sky (Matt Leigh), Sophie still dreams of having her true father walk her down the aisle on the small Greek Island of Kalokairi. In her excitement, she reveals to her two bridesmaids, Ali and Lisa, (played by Rose Robinson and Stephanie Inches), that she has secretly invited her three possible fathers to attend her wedding unbeknown to her mother.

Sophie reveals that she has found and read Donna’s 1979 diary. She discovered that twenty years ago there were three young men that Donna had an affair with over a 25-day period, which coincided with Sophie‘s conception! Sophie realises that any one of them could be her Dad! Not having ever known either her true father, or her grandparents who had disowned Donna when she had a baby out of wedlock, she had grown up with her mother on the island with some financial support from an inheritance that provided them with money to refurbish a hotel and make a living.

The three leading men arrive on the eve of the wedding unaware it was Sophie who invited them. One is Irish-American architect, Sam Carmichael (Charlie Harrison), Swedish adventurer and writer, Bill Anderson (James Reid), and British banker, Harry Bright (David O’Keefe). Sophie hopes she’ll discover her true Dad. Donna finds out her old flames have arrived and matters become complicated. She confides in her old friends Rosie (June Trethaway) and Tanya (Melanie Fuller), former Dynamos who sang with Donna. The girls use their woman’s wisdom to cheer Donna with Chiquitita, Dancing Queen and Our Last Summer.

These leading female cast members along with Georgia Burnett, give strong convincing performances and are supported by the ensemble and feature dancers such as, Connor Chadwick and Ned Kelly as well as the “bachelor boys” who impact with their dance routines.

A live orchestra is heard playing up-stage and accompanies most songs, but at times the audio level is such that it smothers the lyrics making it harder to hear the singers; maybe this was due to an imbalance in the sound mix? However, this lapse did not detract from the overall enjoyment of the show and R.M.T. is to be congratulated on the overall standard.

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