Muddy Must See: Mamma Mia!
You could tell I was going to the Big City: I was wearing my houndstooth city shorts, tights without holes and carefully applied eyeliner as I dashed off to see Mamma Mia! at the Bristol Hippodrome, on the show’s first ever UK tour.
Unless you’ve been living on another planet you’ll already know the plot. A wedding is about to take place on an idyllic Greek island and the bride-to-be, Sophie, has invited along three of her mother’s old flames – Harry, Bill and Sam – in the hope of discovering which one of them is her father. Mum’s two old pals turn up too, and the fun begins – all to the soundtrack of 70s supergroup, ABBA.
It’s a fast-paced show (well, they’ve got 22 songs to fit into just over two hours), with each song following on quickly from the last – there’s not a huge amount of dialogue – but each fits naturally into the storyline, to extend or amplify, rather than interrupt.
The sets are spare yet effective: simple two-part revolving taverna walls take the action inside – and out – and back inside again. A plain backdrop bathed in sumptuous blue light manages to convey the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea with great success.
There was a raunchy rapport between Donna and her friends and some fab harmonising (well, what do you expect from Donna and the Dynamos?)
Sara Poyzer (Donna) can really belt out the big numbers but it was her impassioned duet with Richard Standing (as Sam Carmicheal) who – sorry, Pierce – can actually sing, that left the biggest impression on me. I also loved the manic but poignant scene as Jacqueline Braun’s Rosie and Christopher Hollis’ journo-cum-Bear-Grylls type Bill Austin decide to take a chance on each other. Tim Walton plays a more effete Harry than Colin Firth, so it’s no surprise at all that his other half is called Lawrence.
Lucy May Barker (on the right) is completely convincing as Sophie and has a pure, sweet voice.
Her prospective groom Sky (Phillip Ryan) and his mates were like playful, awesomely athletic puppies (albeit puppies wearing skin-tight neoprene wet suits rolled back to reveal muscular torsos, a sight which was greatly appreciated by certain members of the audience). Great beach scene between the incredibly agile Pepper, played by Louis Stokil – those non-stop split jumps were breathtaking – and supermodel-thin man-eating Tanya (Emma Clifford).
Inventive, mini flash mob, ensemble dancing (especially the underwater scene that I don’t remember in the film) and of course, the songs are all fab – and everyone in the audience seemed to know the words to all of them.The atmosphere builds so that by the big, multi-coloured wedding party finale, we were all on our feet, singing and clapping (there was even some movement observed in the Muddy hips department), as silver streamers floated down from the ceiling of the theatre – and everyone was left feeling very happy indeed.
Mamma Mia! is on at the Bristol Hippodrome until Sat 7 May.