Theatre review - Mamma Mia! at Palace Theatre Manchester
PUBLISHED: 15:12 05 July 2018 | UPDATED: 16:05 05 July 2018
An exuberant, energy-filled explosion of music, dance and laughter, Mamma Mia!, currently playing at Palace Theatre Manchester, will have you on your feet and dancing, says Kate Houghton
Even before the curtain rose, the atmosphere at Manchester’s Palace Theatre, as the audience gathered to watch Mamma Mia!, was positively effervescent. There was a buzz in the air that made it clear that high expectations were held, and assuredly would be met. As soon as the first notes sounded from the brilliant live band below the stage, claps and cheers erupted, bringing things to a new high.
Nobody could possibly have been disappointed by last night’s show. Mamma Mia!’s reputation precedes it, and many of last night’s attendees will have seen the show before and very probably viewed the movie version many, many times, ensuring that favourite moments abound. This expectation in itself places immense pressure on any cast touring this fabulous show, I imagine. Not only do they have to ensure that people get what they came for, but that it’s better than they remember from last time!
For me, they delivered, in spades. The energy levels just kept on rising, the joy of the music just kept on coming. The choreography is simply outstanding, with a couple of numbers just blowing the roof off.
Voulez Vous, the opening scene of Sophie’s hen night, is simply superb – the music could do all the work, but the sheer joy of the song and the dance takes it to a whole new level, increasing in pitch as Sophie’s anxieties increase, till it achieves an almost overwhelming feel – just in time for curtain down, end of part one. Phew.
The second half provides more fabulous song and dance. Audience favourite – you could almost feel the shudder of excitement run through the crowd as the beach scene and necessary cast members appeared – Does Your Mother Know was absolutely brilliant, with smashing vocals and a dance routine of such energy and precision it left you breathless. And also some quieter moments – Slipping Through My Fingers is a deliciously sad song all parents can relate to, and a lovely demonstration of Shona White’s talent. In her role of Donna Sheridan, Sophie’s mother and keeper of secrets, she produces some outstanding performances, ably assisted by the perfectly cast Helen Anker as Tanya and Nicky Swift, as Rosie. Sadly, the weakest link is Sky, played by Phillip Ryan, whose voice simply isn’t up to the demands placed on it. His posse of handsome young friends more than make up for this, however!
By the end of the evening the audience were, to a man, on their feet and singing along, a joyous celebration of the some of the best music ever written. Thank you for the music, Abba, and thank you for this amazing show, Judy Caymer.
Mamma Mia! plays in Manchester until 14 July 2018. Grab your tickets now! www.atgtickets.com/shows/mamma-mia/palace-theatre-manchester