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Fab ABBA

Super troupers hit Sydney with the musical Mamma Mia!


Photography by Getty Images / James D Morgan

14 June 2023

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It’s 2023, and a year that I can proudly admit I was a huge ABBA fan. Yet, in 1977 this was not the case. ABBA was not cool. Yes, they were popular, but definitely not cool. They were daggy, and so was I.

I lined up with my mum to get tickets to their first show and spent a wet night in my embroidered Fernando dress with my hair cut in bangs trying to catch a glimpse of Agnetha at Moore Park. My hem was covered in mud by the end of the night, but it was worth it.

The story of Mamma Mia! is just as loveable as the original ABBA – a little bit daggy and lots of fun.  Set on a Greek Island, the heartwarming tale centres around Sophie (Sarah Krndija), a 20-year-old bride-to-be who admits she won’t be complete until she finds her dad.

On the eve of her wedding, all three possible fathers turn up on the island at Sophie’s request (the three potential fathers’ names were solicited from information in the diary of Donna (Elise McCann), her mother.

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This is a musical that sends you soaring back to childhood – or whatever age you were when you discovered the Swedish Supergroup – as each ABBA hit is belted out by one of the talented cast (albeit only 10 seconds of Fernando).

My favourite song showed Donna’s bestie Tanya (Deone Zanotto) sing the hit of the evening, Does your mother know?, thrusting her body over the stage like an elegant cougar. There were other incredible moments such as Gimme Gimme Gimme a Man After Midnight, which was high energy.

With 22 ABBA songs, you couldn’t but help to love this musical – and you were saved from any tone-deaf singers in the crowd as a sign stated that no singing was allowed!

Elise McCann was the star of the day bursting with life and love and a great voice. The three fathers were well cast with Martin Crewes as Sam Carmichael (shades of Pierce Brosnan there), Drew Livingstone as Harry and Tim Wright as Bill Austin.

Donna’s other bestie, Rosie (Bianca Bruce) was wonderful in her rendition of Take a Chance on Me with Bill (Tim Wright).

The opening night crowd filled with influencers and celebrities were all on their feet at the end singing along to Dancing Queen and Waterloo. What could the ushers do when everyone was singing? Strength in numbers!

So for a few hours, it was wonderful to be transported from a Sydney winter to the warmth of the Greek isles via a great set, razzle-dazzle costumes and outstanding lighting.

As Molly Meldrum would say, “Do yourself a favour” and go along. It doesn’t matter who you take, this is a musical that everyone will enjoy.

Seen and loved by over 65 million people around the globe, this smash-hit phenomenon is your ticket to join the party of a lifetime.

Sydney Lyric Theatre until 30 July before heading to Brisbane’s Lyric Theatre – QPAC from 6 August and then to Melbourne’s Princess Theatre from 4 October.

 

mammamiathemusical.com.au
firstclassmagazine.co

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