*** Catch up time, because I’ve fallen behind writing my reviews. Not convincing reasons, but in my defence, they do involve theatre and learning lines. ***

It’s hard to believe that there are people in this world who don’t like Mamma Mia. The cheek. It could be due to them not liking the Meryl Streep movie, or simply being an anti-ABBA snob. Possibly, most of these have never seen the stage musical because if they had, they’d have been part of a fun and enjoyable music extravaganza.

Mamma Mia — Wolverhampton Grand — January 19, 2023

Mamma Mia is a light-hearted romp, well-written with excellent tunes which have stood the test of time for 50 years. Some period musicals date; this has not. As soon as you hear the first chords of the overture, goosebumps rise and two and half hours then goes far too quicky.

The show is, of course, a Jukebox Musical, with a sharp but easy on the mind script by Catherine Johnson with music coming from the ABBA writing duo of Benny Anderson and Bjorn Ulvaeus. And what you get musically is hit after hit after hit. Instantly recognisable songs that have the audience singing and clapping all the way to the end. Yes, I was guilty as charged, so shoot me. It’s a fantastic show.

Mamma Mia — Wolverhampton Grand — January 19, 2023

In the role of Donna during this performance was Sarah Harlington who excelled in one of my favourites — Slipping Through My Fingers. Also at the top of their game was Jess Michelmore as the feisty but still vulnerable Sophie for which I Have a Dream was wonderful. Playing Donna’s comic foil friends were Sarah Earnshaw (Tanya) and Nicky Swift (Rosie). As well as their own numbers (Does Your Mother Know and Take a Chance on Me respectively), they completed a great trio with Harlington’s Donna for Chiquitita, Super Trouper and Dancing Queen.

Of course, Sophie has friends as well, plus a fiancé. Tanya Butterfield was Ali while Freya Humberstone played Lisa. Both combined well with Michelmore for the funny and light-hearted Honey Honey which sets the story for the rest of the show. As Sophie’s groom to be, we have Sky, portrayed well by Christopher Foley who duetted with her in Lay All Your Love on Me.

Mamma Mia — Wolverhampton Grand — January 19, 2023

On stage as Sophie’s three potential dads (forgive me if you don’t know the plot; go watch the show) were Neal Craig (Harry), Phil Corbitt (Bill) and for the second time seeing his as Sam, Richard Standing. Completing the principal cast were Jaden Oshenye (Pepper), Archie Flynn (Eddie) and Andrew Bateup (Father Alexander). As was everyone else in the cast, these were out of this world making this a real show to remember.

Mamma Mia — Wolverhampton Grand — January 19, 2023

Other great and personal favourite tunes included Money Money Money, Thank You for the Music, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight), Voulez-Vous and of course, Mamma Mia. I also love the feelgood I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do. And just when you think it’s all over after the bows, you get an encore with a full cast Dancing Queen and the one that made ABBA famous — Waterloo.

I can’t keep repeating enough, this is a fantastic show, directed by Phyllida Lloyd with choreography from Anthony Van Laast, plus musical supervision in the hands of Martin Koch.

Mamma Mia is still touring the UK for the early part of 2023. I can’t recommend it highly enough.

Mamma Mia — Wolverhampton Grand — January 19, 2023


Antony N Britt