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Mamma Mia!

  • Theatre, Musicals
  • Novello Theatre, Aldwych
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended
  1. © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg
    © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg

    Amy Webb (Lisa), Sanne den Besten (Sophie) and Jemma Revell (Ali) in 'Mamma Mia!'

  2. © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg
    © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg

    Dugald Bruce-Lockhart (Bill), Richard Trinder (Sam) and Alasdair Harvey (Harry) in 'Mamma Mia!'

  3. © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg
    © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg

    Mazz Murray (Tanya), Linzi Hateley (Donna) and Jo Napthine (Rosie) in 'Mamma Mia!'

  4. © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg
    © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg

    Filippo Coffano (Pepper) with the cast of 'Mamma Mia!'

  5. © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg
    © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg

    The cast of 'Mamma Mia!'

  6. © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg
    © Brinkhoff & Mögenburg

    The cast of 'Mamma Mia!'


Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Abba fans won't be able to resist this poptastic musical smash hit

This review is from 2012.

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.

Written by
Nina Caplan


Novello Theatre
Rail/Tube: Charing Cross; Tube: Covent Garden/Holborn
£17.50-£195. Runs 2hr 35min
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