Stage review: Mamma Mia! - Bradford Alhambra

A scene from the musical Mamma Mia! which is currently at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford.
A scene from the musical Mamma Mia! which is currently at the Alhambra Theatre in Bradford.
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Now in its 20th year Mamma Mia! continues to delight audiences with the feel-good rush that surrounds it.

The Swedish pop group ABBA’s music dominated the Seventies with some of the most memorable and finest pop songs ever written – so it was hardly surprising that a cleverly constructed musical, where their hit songs are fused effortlessly into the plot has become a global phenomenon.

Mamma Mia! is a story of love, friendship and identity and follows the fortunes of a young woman who is soon to be married and hopes to find her real father.

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Sophie searches her mother Donna’s diary and, going through the details of various dates, Donna had around the relevant time, manages to narrow it down to three possible men.

Without her mother knowing, Sophie decides to invite the three men to her wedding on a Greek island paradise in her mother’s name. What then follows is a series of farcical incidents leaving her none the wiser as to her paternity.

Mamma Mia! is upbeat, bouncy with a mood as sunny as the Aegean sky – a mood that is captured admirably in Phyllida Lloyd’s slick and seamless production that is laced with some wonderfully poignant moments.

This new touring production has been given a few nips and tucks to bring it up to date. Some of these work wonderfully but others, especially the comedy, don’t seem to blend in with the ambience of the story.

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As Donna ( Sharon Sexton) and her two friends Tanya (Helen Anker) and Rosie( Nicky Swift) romp their way through the show but its Anker’s sophisticated man-eating character that is truly outstanding.

Emma Mullen’s Sophie captures a beautiful innocence both in characterization and vocals but out of the three ‘could it be me’ fathers there’s only Jamie Kenna’s true

blue Aussie Bill that is totally convincing.

Mamma Mia! dispenses ABBA magic on tap. When you hear Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson’s iconic music, I can guarantee and you will have great difficulty in stopping yourself from singing along to every single number.

FOUR STARS

To November 23.