Mamma Mia!

Theatre , West End Novello Theatre , Covent Garden Until Saturday March 4 2017
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 4 out of 5 stars
(21 user reviews)
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The indestructible Abba musical is great fun

Judy Craymer's bold idea of turning the insanely catchy songs of ABBA into a musical has paid off splendidly, in every sense – box office figures for 'Mamma Mia!' are as eye-watering as its outfits.

This is largely because Catherine Johnson had the sense to weave the 1970s into her script, and director Phyllida Lloyd to cast accordingly. Heroine Donna Sheridan lived the free love dream (if only because her boyfriend ran out on her), wound up pregnant and survived to see her daughter, Sophie, reject all her principles in favour of a white wedding and the kind of certainty that comes from knowing which of your mother's three consecutive lovers ought to be walking you down the aisle. If you wanted to, you could see this as a conversation about feminism. But you'll look pretty silly debating patriarchal oppression while on your feet clapping to 'Dancing Queen'.

Some of the songs are oddly static, but when the choreography does get going – for instance, when Donna's friend Tanya stylishly quashes a libidinous local puppy in 'Does Your Mother Know?' – it's terrific, and makes great use of props: I wonder if the producers can assure us that no electric drills or hairdryers were harmed in the making of this musical?

The current cast appear to have been chosen more for their singing voices than their serious acting ability. But who needs dramatic conviction when you have purest pop to do the convincing for you? Given the songs, a story just about solid enough to stay upright on its platform heels, and a Greek island setting perfect for a whimsy of this sort, it's impossible not to fall for 'Mamma Mia!'s twinkling charms.

BY: NINA CAPLAN

Venue name: Novello Theatre
Contact:
Address: Aldwych
London
WC2B 4LD
Transport: Tube: Covent Gdn/Holborn
Price: £15-£64. Runs 2hrs 30mins
Event phone: 0844 544 3830

Average User Rating

3.8 / 5

Rating Breakdown

  • 5 star:10
  • 4 star:2
  • 3 star:5
  • 2 star:3
  • 1 star:1
LiveReviews|21
NaN people listening
Leon
1 of 1 found helpful

I disappointed... Several years I dreamed to see this show. I love music of ABBA very much. The show was stupid, actors are playing like in school theater, orchestra performance - wow, ABBA in 80's did it much better! Add to this poor acoustic (or just bad voice engineer)... I already was on "Lion King" and "We will rock you" - both were great! Don't waste your time (and money), see the movie instead.

Laura T

Considering the amount you pay for a ticket, you'd expect an outstanding performance for this West End musical. But sadly, the show lacked direction and looked as though it had been thrown together a week before the performance.

The cast sang well but that didn't matter when all you could focus on was how they kept walking back and forth searching for something to do.

I was bitterly disappointed and expected a whole lot more.

Luisa G
Tastemaker

Good show but not amazing - pleased I saw it, but wouldn't see it again.

Jorge A.
Staff Writer

Although I am not an ABBA fan I must say that the music is great. However, the story was not so interesting for me. I would only recommend it for those who like ABBA music and love stories.

Kirsty E
Tastemaker

Mixed feelings on this one. The singing is very good, and true to the original cheesy pop style. The band were great and the atmosphere was fabulous. However, the acting was quite poor and the storyline was not very original and quite cliched. Would I recommend?... probably not, unless you are a true ABBA fan looking for a fun night out. Just don't go with too high expectations!  

bowertron

September 2015 cast are awesome. I saw this in 2014 and it felt a little tired but the latest cast are superb and all seemed to be having a ball up there on the stage. After the show I booked a holiday to Greece... it's that amazing!

Jerry C

Loved this show! High energy - tons of dancing - and of course, can't help but love the music! The main characters were fantastic - loved every single one of them! Funny, quirky and fun sums this experience up for me. I left there acting like a "Dancing Queen" myself lol. Suffice to say it is a must see.

Andrew T

Musics of course are great but what else? I had the impression that the show relies completely on the ABBA songs. The scenography is very poor with the same 2 white walls spinned in 3 different positions. Lot turist groups confusing the show with a concert or a disco.

Aishni Katariya

Amazing amazing show! really kept up to the band and did justice to its amazing music! fantastic acting too!

Jade

AMAZING! Funny, happy brilliant feel good show. Would definately recommend. Even though we sat in the balcony it was still a great view and brilliant atmosphere.

Phil Holland

Despite the expense of the tickets, this is a must-see show of any fans of ABBA. The singing was amazing and the show was both fast-paced and peppered with comedy. Go see it!

Sue

Best show I have ever been to, so good, all our party really enjoyed it, would see time and time again

Azizi

Great performance and entertaining evening. I have been to the show many years back at other venue in London but this one is so far the best.....

Wendy

Both my daughter and I loved the show. Great seats in the dress circle.

miha

I dont agree with comment above. This show is much better than movie. Great performance and very good singers :)

vera stein

The performance was somewhat boring. Too much talk and not enough dancing. The film is much better.

brian

my belarussian girlfriend and i and my 6 year old came from ireland mainly to see this and we thought it was great. watched it from the third tier, tickets bought on lastminute.com at an ok price. a feel good show with great singing and the odd laugh. good scene with the chest bearing boys doing there stuff. sophie was faultless, songs which my daughter knew cos she saw the movie about 10 times. all over a fantastic night

KevinM

Just clarify when I gave only 1 star. I've seen Mamma Mia in LA, NY, and London before. And I loved the musical a lot. However, when I took my friend to see it on 1 March, 2013, it was a total disappointment. I guess now this musical is a permanent tourist attraction, so the theatre has become complacent and decided to do it on the cheap to maximize profit instead of focusing on quality. The cast on that night could barely sing and act. The lead actress, the mother, lost her voice 90% of the time. The three fathers appeared to amateur actors/singers. Only the daughter was maintaining a respectable standard. Fir the price they are charging the non-tourist group patrons, it was a total disaster and rip-off. Better go somewhere else for this musical. To make it worse, the security guards treated the patrons like cattle, Be prepared.