Music and Lyrics Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus and some songs by Stig Anderson (the Abba Manager)
Book Catherine Johnson
Cast Emily Dykes (Sophie Sheridan); Jayde Westaby (Ali); Kaisa Hammarlund (L:isa); Geraldine Fitzgerald (Tanya); Joanna Monro (Rosie); Helen Hobson (Donna Sheridan); Michael Xavier (Sky); Barnaby Thompson (Pepper); Mark Willshire (Eddie); John Langley (Harry Bright); Ulrich Wiggers (Bill Meyer); Cameron Blakeley (Sam Carmichael); Tim English (Father Alexander)
Presented by Judy Craymer, Richard East in association with Universal Stage Holding and NGM
Directed by Phyllida Lloyd
Production Designer Mark Thomson
Lighting Designer Howard Harrison
Sound Designers Andrew Bruce and Bobby Aitken
Musical Supervisor, additional material amd arrangements Martin Keoch
Choreography Anthony van Laast
Venue Edinburgh Playhouse
Address 18-22 Greenside Place
Reviewer Pat Napier
Original Utrecht cast
© Deen van Meer
The music of the most phenomenally successful band of all time, Abba, has finally
come to Edinburgh. The musical Mamma mia!, that is - not - the band itself,
though stories were legion that all or some of them would show up in the city
for the show's opening. This is not a tribute show but it is the world's
No.1 show - a clever, funny, sunny tale built round Abba's music and hits.
This eagerly-awaited show (our bulletin board's January 2004 Press Release has had 1304 hits at the time of writing) produced the obligatory amazing audience numbers on Press night, so big that the start was delayed by 25 minutes. But perhaps the First Minister's arrival photo call also had something to do with the delay.
This Edinburgh run - the first time out of London - is the only UK engagement, kicking off its European tour. Mamma mia! is most definitely not the story of Abba but that inconvenient fact doesn't deter one little bit from the show's popularity, as more than 10,000,000 people round the world will testify...
Sky and Sophie
© Francis George
The story is every bit as flimsy and insubstantial as any opera plot - and
lots of fun! Single mum Donna, running her own taverna on a small Greek island,
and her 20 year old daughter Sophie are preparing for Sophie's wedding to Sky.
Secretly, the bride has been trying to find her unknown father and has invited
the three candidates - her mother's ex-lovers - to her wedding in the hope that
she'll be able to identify her real father. The official guests include Donna's
best friends Tanya and Rosie who, together, had once been a successful 1970's
glam rock girl singing group.
All the great Abba hits are interwoven through this very humorous story. From curtain up the loud, heavy beat got the audience going. Sophie, the bride to be/heroine began the show. But soon Money, money, money introduced us to the 70's trio of lead singer Donna, glamorous Tanya and the overweight, larger-than-life Rosie in an unforgettable trio backed up by singers and dancers, led by the consistently memorable Pepper. Immediately after that they re-emerged in full glam rock gear to sing Thank you for the music, ratcheting the whole show up. Who can forget Rosie's exuberant flaunting of all she had?
Rosie, Donna and Tanya
Original Broadway cast
© Joan Marcus
As the story unfolded, with Sophie's father candidates, first one, then the
others coming to life, letting us glimpse in song the reasons why Donna had
had a fling with them. The songs all made sense and had us laughing with their
unexpected touches. Harry 'Hammerhead' remembered the past in Our last summer
and Rosie urged Take a chance on me. The show gave us hit after hit and
ended as it began with Sophie, singing I have a dream.
The wrap-up was an extended reprise of the three greatest Abba hits led by the undoubted stars of the show, Donna, Tanya and Rosie in new glitzy costumes leading the cast - and the audience - in full-blooded renditions of Mamma mia!, Dancing Queen and Waterloo. The house responded on its feet, clapping, dancing and singing along. One member of the audience confessed on the way out "When we were young Abba were definitely uncool. We wouldn't have dreamed of admitting to liking them". No sign of that now!
It's definitely a 'must see' show. Get tickets as soon as you can - if you
can. You won't regret it.
© Pat Napier. 17 November 2004. Published on www.edinburghguide.com
Run: 12 November 2004 - 29 January 2005