Mamma Mia! Music by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus

Dates and Venue 1 – 13 April 2008 @ 8pm; Saturdays 2pm and 8.00pm; Sundays 2pm and 7.30pm | Queen Elizabeth Theatre

Book Catherine Johnson Director Phyllida Lloyd Sound Design Andrew Bruce & Bobby Aitken. Production Design Mark Thompson Lighting Design Howard Harrison Choreography Anthony Van Laast Music Director Susan Draus Arrangements Martin Koch

Reviewer Ed Farolan

Mamma Mia! is back in town, and opening night was a sellout with a full house of all ages clapping and swinging to the disco 70s sound of this ABBA inspired musical. It has been a hit in every city it has played, including London (the first), New York, Sydney, Australia and here in Vancouver. When it premiered here in 2003, a one day ticket sales record was established, and audiences were turned away in sold out shows when it returned in 2005. So, folks, if you don't buy your tickets soon, you'll have to wait another two or three years or fly elsewhere to see this fantastic show.

Johnson’s book was developed to tie up a selection of Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson’s popular compositions into a story about Sophie Sheridan (Rose Sezniak) revealing to her girl friends that she read the diary of her mother Donna (Susie Mcmonagle) about her three past lovers. She invites them to her wedding because she wants to find out which one is her father.

When the three 'prospective' fathers appear on the Greek Island for the wedding, hilarious events follow as the truth slowly unfolds. Funny scenes in the musical focus on the utter shock of Donna, still a single mother, who has to cope with her daughter's wedding and the sudden appearance of her three past lovers, one of whom being the father that Sophie has never met.

These lovers are played with great comic effect and singing acumen by Michael Aaron Lindner, Martin Kildare, and John Hemphill. Mcmonagle as Donna is brilliant in the role of the strong minded single mom and hotel/tavern owner in this Greek isle, and Sezniak as her daughter is charismatic in her performance.

But there's nothing like the music of ABBA, which has become a global phenomenon. Some of the hits performed include: Chiquitita, Dancing Queen, Honey, Honey, I Have a Dream, Mama Mia, S.O.S., Take A Chance on Me, The Name of the Game, and The Winner Takes It All, bringing back memories of the disco days of my youth.

The sell-out crowd ended the evening by giving the cast a standing ovation, cheering, clapping, and swinging to the music of Dancing Queen.

© 2008 Ed Farolan