Mamma Mia! at the Norwich Theatre Royal

Located in central Norwich, the Theatre Royal always promises an exciting night out.

Mamma Mia! at the Norwich Theatre Royal

Based on the songs of Swedish pop group ABBA, the musical of Mamma Mia first began in 1999. However it was 2008 when it came to our screens, boasting a bumper cast of A-Listers (Meryl Streep, Amanda Seyfried, Colin Firth, to name but a few). The BAFTA-nominated movie made the now-famous stage-show what it is, touring the UK over the course of 2017.

So here's the thing: I didn't know the musical came before the movie. I was always going to compare it to its screenplay counterpart. And although I tried my utmost, the film still lurked in the shadows: Seyfried with her hair as blonde as the Greek sand and Julie Walters with her wit as fresh as the Mediterranean breeze.

But I was ready to give it a shot. And it didn't disappoint, oh no. Bursting with glitter, innuendo and crowd-pleasing dance routines, the dazzling experience was far and away a better production than the much-loved movie.

For me, Donna (Helen Hobson) was the Trouper of the performance. With a tear-inducing voice during "Slipping Through my Fingers", she astounded throughout the show portraying the single-mother whose role becomes more relatable with every performance.

The three middle-aged men were the stereotypes depicted in the film and no less amusing. It seemed the song that raised the most laughs was "Take a Chance on Me" with Bill (Christopher Hollis) and Rosie (Gillian Hardie) who was as mischievous and loveable as everyone hoped for. Similarly, the encore of "Dancing Queen" saw the cast dressed up in those infamous ruffled, shiny flare suits everyone associates with the story.

I was intrigued to discover how the production would set the different scenes. Cleverly designed, the revolving set switched from the interior of the Greek villa to the shoreline in just a matter of seconds.

Every single ABBA hit you could think of was crammed in there – the whole set list from the movie as well as a couple of added bonuses. Each dance was choreographed in a way that made my feet itch to be standing up there with them. The whole performance was infectious.

One element of the show I didn't understand was the addition of accents to most characters. Sky was Scottish, Donna from Northern England and Bill Australian. Although the latter's character did benefit from the accent, I felt the others simply added unnecessary complexity.

Otherwise, the show was an utter pleasure from the moment Sophie (Lucy May Barker) stepped onto the stage clutching the diary, to the moment the cast took their bows, leaving the audience still partying in the aisles.

A fantastic night out, packed with feel-good tunes and plenty of boogy-ing to go alongside.

  • Image courtesy of MAMMA MIA! International Tour 2016


Sienna James

Sienna James Voice Team

Formerly Assistant Editor, Sienna now studies History of Art at the University of Cambridge and loves to write about the intersection of politics, history and visual art. Sienna is author of the Creative Education and Instaviews series.

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  • Luke Taylor

    On 26 September 2017, 10:36 Luke Taylor Contributor commented:


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