By Lilian Harrington
Director: Sherryl-Lee Secomb Musical Director: Julie Whiting Choreographer: Bec Swain
Queensland Musical Theatre
Twelfth Night Theatre,
4 Cintra Rd.
Plays: November 2 -14 . Bookings: queenslandmusicaltheatre.com
ABBA has written some of the most successful music ever produced; this popular musical Mamma Mia has been presented by many theatre companies since it was released ; this Q. M. T. production has an original twist and is most entertaining; it keeps the audience on the edge of their seats clapping and singing along to the infectious, foot –stomping, music.
With eager anticipation the audience cheered as a very polished production by the Queensland Musical Theatre commenced its latest presentation of Mamma Mia at the Twelfth Night Theatre this week. The cast exploded onto the stage to a packed audience and both young and old alike, responded enthusiastically as they listened to the popular music of ABBA . The musical is based on the book written by English playwright Catherine Johnson who has based her work on the songs of the Swedish group ABBA, composed by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus; the title of the musical was taken from ABBA’s chart -topper, and ABBA encouraged and mentored the development of the musical from the beginning.
After it premiered in London’s Prince Edward’s Theatre in 1999, it became the seventh longest running show in the West End and later the ninth longest running show on Broadway. Between 1999 and 2019, it toured in both the UK and the USA as well as various international productions. Following this success there has now been a film adaptation in 2008 and a sequel in 2018.
Favourite musical hits include: Super Trouper, Lay All Your Love on Me, Dancing Queen, Knowing Me, Knowing You, Take a Chance on Me, SOS, Thank you for the Music, Money, Money, Money, The Winner Takes it All and Mamma Mia.
The Q.M.T.musical was thoughtfully directed by Sherryl-Lee Secomb, who has won Del Arte recognitions for her work in South East Queensland, performing and directing for several community theatre organisations. Her direction and design for this show was well received; coupled with the musical direction of the fabulous Julie Whiting, (a much sought after conductor, vocal coach, musician and educator in South East Queensland), along with the choreography from Bec. Swain, which gave this Q.M.T production a winning edge!
Strong character performances were noted from leads (Carole Williams) Donna, and (Sophie Mason) Sophie, along with Jordan Ross (Sam) David McLaughlin (Bill) and Peter Bothams (Harry) who showed strong vocal competence. Stand out performances were seen by Fiona Buchanan (Rosie) and Darcy Rhodes (Pepper) and added good contrast and humour to the presentation.
Q.M.T. have been fortunate to have the services of Hayley Gervais (Assistant Director) and Deian Ping (Costume Design) with Gillian Peterson ( Costume Construction), who have produced some awesome costumes, which help to create a strong artistic statement for this show.
Further, Stage Manager Gerard Livsey, managed difficult scene changes that were fluent and smooth; even at interval crew /cast were used to clean up the stage and make it look as though they were part of the action.
There was a good balance between the orchestra’s level and the singers. It was a change to sit in this theatre and hear the words of the songs sung clearly when the music played, because the orchestra were seated below the stage and were not too loud for the on-stage vocals;
The lighting design and operation lead by Tom Dodds supported the atmosphere on stage and was effective in creating a good ambience to the story as it played out.
The cast were a mix of experienced players and younger performers; there were some delightful young emerging dancers who audience should look out for in Q.M.T.’s future productions because they helped to make this presentation of Mamma Mia a thoroughly enjoyable and fun night out. Mamma Mia runs at Twelfth night until November 14.