Last night I spent a wonderful hour at the Palace Theatre In Manchester immersed in all thing Greek and ABBA, watching Mamma Mia!, my favourite show ever.
Lots of shows have come near over the years, but last night confirmed why this modern-day masterpiece still packs theatres and commands standing ovations after 19 years. I don’t know where to start with this one! You see my ABBA story goes back to the 70s. Like many I remember dancing away in my bedroom to the ABBA Arrival album, when all my friends thought it was way cooler to love Bucks Fizz or Adam Ant. But I knew somewhere deep down this was a lifelong love affair and where my money was going. It just felt so cool and different at the time.
Then in March 1999 Mamma Mia! hit the West End and ABBA mania went mad.
I can’t even describe how giddy I was that my still favourite band ever were cool again. ABBA mania was aired on TV and an album to follow. We spend many hours jigging away in our busy high-end salon in greater London, loving the ABBA vibe. One of my best friends still says to this day when she hears dancing queen she thinks of me. And whenever I think of working for that hair group I think of ABBA.
I didn’t get to see the show until 2005; I sat in awe at how the songs were blended into the most wonderful story of sunshine and love on a Greek Island. And left knowing that was my fave show EVER.
But it got better, as we know in 2008 Mamma Mia! the movie hit the screens, my fave band, show in a film! And it was everything it promised to be wonderfully beautiful, sunny and mega budget. I loved it.
Last night I got to see Mamma Mia! again in the international tour in Manchester.
With the new film looming I felt dizzy with excitement, I mean come on Sher? Argghhh it only gets better. But I was also nervous after the mega budget of the film. That film I put on when I want a glass of wine and a sing along. The film I have stood on the lido deck of a Princess cruise in my bikini singing along to on the outdoors screening of Mamma Mia!. What if I didn’t love the show any more?
But I loved it even more!
You see the big budgets of the movies are incredible, perfect for watching at home. Because lets face it you can’t text the cast of the show and request they bob round for a performance because you are feeling tuneful?
And this is where it started. With a simple but beautiful set that feels every bit as real as the Greek Island of Kalokairi. The show is very slightly different and packs in ever more ABBA hits. But it’s the wonderful cast that make it.
Lucy May Barker plays the most adorable Sophie with a stunning voice that engages you from the second you see her on stage, the chemistry with Sky (Philip Ryan) is palpable.
Her quest to find out who her dad is, only to be faced with 3 potential father figures, against her mother Donna’s (Shona White) wishes to ever find out and ever have these men in her life.
For those who have been living in Mars for the last 20 years!
Mamma Mia takes you through Sophie’s journey discovering and getting to know her real dads, as she also prepares for married life with Sky. And how her mother Donna faces ghosts from the past with the support of her closest girlfriends Rosie (Nicky Swift) and Tanya (Helen Anker)
I adore the relationship between Donna, Rosie and Tanya. Every girl should have friends like this. The comedy element they bring to the show demonstrates everything you want from fantastic friendships. That unfiltered relaxed relationship you only have with your closest friends.
Mamma Mia! is packed with incredible voices singing some of the best music ever. All choreographed perfectly to have you singing along, laughing and crying. The show is a visual feast that manages to transport you to a Greek Island and be indulged in all things ABBA that has you leaving wanting to do it all again.
And as the audience sang and danced along to a standing ovation lasting for 2 songs, confetti flying around us, I honestly didn’t want it to end. This really is the ultimate feel good show. And if you love ABBA or the Movie and haven’t seen Mama Mia The Musical, trust me this is one mistake you do not want to make in your life, go and see it!
Mama Mia! Is showing at the Palace Theatre in Manchester until the 14th July. Click here for tickets.