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REVIEW: Mamma Mia! at Hull New Theatre – More than worth the Money, Money, Money

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I joined a packed and excited audience at Hull New Theatre last night to watch the touring show “Mamma Mia” and what a treat it was.   Now, I love Abba music.  Are you even human if you don’t’ like Abba?   As expected this show is jam packed with Abba hits.  If you are worried about the cast not sounding as good as Abba, don’t be. By heck, this is a fantastic cast who sounded brilliant!

In case you have been hidden in a cave in the mountains with no access to music of late, this is a story about a wedding taking place on a Greek Island and the bride (Sophie) wants her father to be there.  Unfortunately, she doesn’t know her father, reads her mum’s diary and learns about three guys her mum had met over the summer before her birth.  Of course, she sends them ALL an invite and they rock up on the island and the fun starts.

Sophie is played by Jena Pandya who has a lovely voice.  Ideally suited to the songs she sang.  Fresh and bright, she played the young bride beautifully.  

If you remember the movie, her mum is Donna played by Sara Poyzer.   Oh my, Poyser sings with such passion that you can’t take your eyes off her.  She has a singing voice with such range and quality.    Emotional and loving when she sings “Slipping Through My Fingers” as she prepares her daughter for her wedding to the raw emotion and passion in “The Winner Takes it All” (the emotion never came out in the Abba version).  She blew the audience away with her singing and acting.  She is amazing and led this cast superbly.

Donna’s friends and former backing singers in the form of Tanya (Helen Anker) and Rosie (Nicky Swift) were great support actresses. They also held their own in their own scenes and songs and had us all in stitches at their antics.  Their comic timing was impeccable and as for Tanya’s costumes, my costume envy reared its head again.  

The groom, Sky, played by Toby Miles was handsome and yet sometimes serious, sometimes fun.  He was brilliantly supported by his buddies throughout, Pepper (James Willoughby Moore) was hysterical with his comedy part, drooling over Tanya like a love sick puppy, his dancing was slick, funny and impressive.  

You will be impressed by the boys’ ‘flipper’ dance with diving fins, snorkels and masks they parade onto the stage and dance an hilarious piece with exciting angular and comedic movements.  If the dance weren’t so exhausting I am sure they would have given us an encore of it.  It was brilliant.  

Oh the prospective “dad’s”;  Bill (Phil Corbitt)  Sam (Richard Standing) and Harry (Daniel Crowder) were a great team with fantastic timing, they had us in stitches with jokes, innuendos and were fun to watch.  You fell in love with a little bit of all of them, their song and dance numbers were great.

The ensemble had some fantastic numbers with great choreography by the great Anthony Van Laast.  I wanted to jump onto the stage and join in.  The best choreography is neat and simple and looks effortless and this was all of that.   Slick and beautifully presented.  

In this show you are going to hear those great Abba hits, ‘Dancing Queen’, ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’,  ‘I Have a Dream’, ‘Thank You for the Music’, ‘Super Trouper’, ‘Voulez-Vous’, ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!’, ‘Lay All Your Love on Me’ – your feet will be tapping all night. 

Luckily, there is a long encore and the audience got the chance to stand up and join in with lots of  singing, clapping, arm waving and 70’s bopping.  It was exhilarating and the buzz in the auditorium was infectious and unbeatable.  

There’s a lot of sexual innuendo, not to mention the grabbing of body parts and lots of ‘adult’ jokes which had us laughing loudly (all night).   This is a great show, one of those that is so uplifting that you want to see it again, and from speaking to other audience members, they had seen the show before, loved it and couldn’t wait to see it again.  It’s joyful, infectiously uplifting and fun.   I shall definitely look forward to seeing it again.  

Mamma Mia is running at Hull New Theatre until 19 February and you can grab a ticket from hulltheatres.co.uk – but act fast as they’re flying off the shelves!

Fun fact – in real life Donna and Sam are husband and wife.  He proposes every night and she still says yes.  

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