Thursday, 31 March 2011

'Mamma Mia' International Tour, Glasgow SECC, 30/3/11

Now we booked this a year in advance as the previous time the show came to Glasgow we couldn't get tickets! Still, upon arriving I was surprised to see a number of seats remained unsold - seats which weren't on offer when we tried purchasing! Hmmmm ...

Anyway, back to the show:
I came to 'Mamma Mia' via the film although I've been aware of its existence since it opened in London in 1999 where I was living at the time. I recall my initial reaction to the film, or rather reactions; when Julie Walters began singing to Meryl Streep under a toilet cubicle door I realised that the whole concept was far from serious and just switched off my mind and enjoyed. As the female members of the cinema audience began to clap and sing along, and eventually shout at the screen, I realised even further that this really was something else. For good or ill? I am not the person to quantify. But much can be the same for the show, much to my annoyance at times. I have no problems with the audience clapping along and such but when groups of rowdy women begin shouting the lyrics at the actors on stage before they have the chance to sing them then that begins to piss me off. 'Mamma Mia' is not 'The Rocky Horror Show' and is not a tribute act show! Sometimes I pitied the actors onstage, though I'm sure they were no doubt used to it.
The cast of this international tour was well led by Sara Poyer as 'Donna' with Charlotte Wakefield as 'Sophie', here vastly different to her appearance as 'Wendla' in the London company of 'Spring Awakening'.

The entire cast was quite excellent with not a weak link amongst them and I'll say here that every member of the cast had, in my opinion, superior vocals to those on the original London cast album (the 'Sophie' of which has always annoyed me with her whiny voice), the standouts for me, though, were Jennie Dale as 'Rosie' who milked the part for every laugh possible and Steven Potter as 'Pepper' who was portrayed as a lovable, incorrigible rogue with much exuberance and excitability. He was also quite cute too!

I thought the vast stage of the Clyde Auditorium would dwarf the production but this was far from the truth as the space was used well and gave the impression of the epic sweep of the Greek island on which the show is set. The set, as has always been, was simple yet more than effective with brilliant colours, the same of which can be said for the costumes.

The creative team of writer, choreographer, director and producer, the same as that of the film, have indeed created something that is fun, joyous and a celebration of the songs of 'ABBA' and the show contains numbers not featured in the film but they all served the plot better than I thought they would. It made me appreciate how much effort and work had gone into creating a piece that works so well. True, the plot is not the most complex but it works, as do those glorious songs.
The lighting was sharp and crisp and the sound design was excellent capturing the rock/pop spirit of the songs without sacrificing the dialogue.
It is no surprise to me why this show has done so well around the world, especially if each company is as good as this one. The show is certainly one of the better 'feel-good' shows and certainly builds to a rousing finale and party atmosphere encore!

1 comment:

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