Newcastle Theatre Royal, 30/01/2020
Mamma Mia, how can we resist it? The smash hit musical with millions of fans across the globe is currently on it’s 2020 UK and International tour and has stopped off in Newcastle upon Tyne at the Theatre Royal! We were invited to an exclusive backstage tour and chat with the cast before seeing the show. We have a vlog out too at the bottom of this page!
The story of Mamma Mia is notorious. Sophie Sheridan (Emma Mullen), a young bride-to-be who lives on a Greek island with her single mother, Donna (Sharon Sexton) invites three men to her wedding who she thinks one may be her father after finding her mother’s old diary. Simple solution really! We thought the show was fabulous, filled with an excellent cast and such a treat. Read on for our five reasons to see it…
1. It is SO MUCH FUN
It’s quite clear that everyone on that stage is living their best life and enjoying every moment up there. This is immediately apparent in the performance of each actor, allowing the audience to join in on the fun with ease. The music is infectious and timeless, it’s no wonder there’s signs plastered all over warning people not to join in! The chemistry of the characters is all part of the fun too, especially that between Donna (Sharon Sexton), Rosie (Nicky Swift) and Tanya (Helen Anker). Donna and the Dynamos really shine throughout the production, with the group’s long friendship so easily believable. Sexton’s Irish accent gives a fresh feel to the character of Donna too.
2. It’s absolutely wonderful cheese on toast
Not only is Mamma Mia complete cheese, but the cheese is absolutely delicious and there’s enough for everyone! At the end of the day, it’s ABBA. Of course it’s going to be cheesy! It feels like all the hits are there, performed wonderfully by the entire cast, carrying a storyline that ultimately doesn’t really matter. The whole thing isn’t cheesy though, there’s some really beautiful moments around the wedding; notably “Slipping Through My Fingers” – a beautiful ballad between mother an daughter all about children growing up too fast that left Sharon Sexton (Donna) in tears, and some of the audience too!
3. It’s very funny
This show is gag after gag. Lots of funny costume reveals, visual jokes and one-liners keep the audience entertained throughout. A stand out performance for hilarity is “Does Your Mother Know” where Pepper (James Willoughby Moore) is trying with all his might to have Tanya (Anker) notice him, regardless of their age gap. Lots of well staged jokes in this number really have the audience laughing. Aside from this song, Willoughby Moore (Pepper) and Swift (Rosie) give sterling comedic performances to get regular laughs from the packed auditorium.
4. The songs tie in so well!
The difficult task of being able to create a script and story that fusion well with songs already written is executed perfectly here. The full soundtrack is positioned exceptionally well throughout the show, with many songs seamlessly introduced through conversation. Along with the numbers that are there for pure entertainment, some of the songs also progress the plot, earning their right to be there too. “Voulez-Vous” is a fantastic end to the first act demonstrating the cast’s agility in fast choreography, lit and staged so well too as Sophie (Mullen) attempts conversations with each potential dad amongst the busy dance routine.
5. It’s a show for everybody!
Looking around the theatre as you come in, you’ll see grandparents bringing their grandchildren, couples of all ages and full families all flocking to see Mamma Mia. As the show closes and we are treated to the medley of ABBA hits, you’ll also see all those people up on their feet, dancing, jiving and having the time of their lives. There’s no show out there that has such a wide appeal across generations and the level of entertainment that can be enjoyed by everyone. There’s something really quite magical about this show and we can see it running for many years to come. The tour is visiting so many places across the UK, if you miss out you’d be cheating yourself since you don’t know when.
Check out our vlog from the backstage tour and interviews below!