Theatre Review: Mamma Mia

This musical has been eagerly awaited by amateur companies and with good reason; it has the fantastic ABBA music and a good script from the book by Catherine Johnson.

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Presented by Metropolitan Musical Theatre Company (aka The Met)
Reviewed 18 October 2019

This musical has been eagerly awaited by amateur companies and with good reason; it has the fantastic ABBA music and a good script from the book by Catherine Johnson. The music by Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus is engraved in the Australian psyche and we all know the lyrics (even if we don’t like ABBA) and the script, though no classic does it justice.

This production had many good points, Trish Hart’s performance as Donna not the least. Some of the songs lacked something but she conveyed the character and the audience loved her. Cassidy Rae Gaiter as Sophie was the strongest character, singing well and injecting enthusiasm into her performance. Natasha Scholey and Trish Hendrik did well as Donna‘s mates Tanya and Rosie but at times their costumes didn’t do them any favours. As the expectant groom Daniel Fleming seemed a little unsure but improved as the story progressed.

Donna’s former love interests played by Njal Venning (Sam), Brad Martin (Harry) and Lance Jones (Bill) coped well. They all gave their roles some feeling, they can act, but for the most part they are not singers. In many spots this doesn’t matter, but occasionally it does. Ian Buxton is amusing as Eddie and Dylan Fleming tries hard but his evident youth makes Does Your Mother Know a little weird.

Selena Britz’s direction keeps the pace moving and Carmel Vistoli’s choreography has fun spots and gives the chorus a chance to display their skills but occasionally verges on line dancing. I am no expert but I do wonder if the classical training of Jennifer Trijo caused the strange tempos. The sound was, at times thin, and certainly no rock band. The costumes also lacked punch (except for the Super Trouper ones) and were too much of a mismatch. The sound also had its problems and was patchy (unusual for the listed sound operator) but the Arts is notoriously difficult for sound techs. There was no lighting designer or operator credited in the program, perhaps no-one wanted to take responsibility for the, at times, bad lighting (the sunny day was distinctly overcast).

So, is this production worth seeing? I think so because all though the faults were more than a few, the music carried them, the cast is enthusiastic and the audience certainly seemed to appreciate the fun.

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: Arts Theatre
Season:  17- 26 October 2019
Duration: 2.5 hr

Tickets: Adults $35, Concession $29, Special Price Night (Tues 22nd) ALL TICKETS $27 Group Bookings: 10+ Tickets $27.50
Service Fee Applies

Bookings: Online and Group Bookings: metmusicals.com.au
Phone Bookings: Carolyn Mesecke – 0407 457 821


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