Mamma Mia

The Lyric Theatre, QPAC in Brisbane

“Mamma Mia! Here we go again”

Sophie is getting married but she doesn’t know who her real father is so she invited all 3 possible candidates, one of which her mother still loves. This inexplicably was the best plot they could think of to integrate some ABBA songs into.

Does anyone actually care about the plot or characters? Aren’t we all just here for some ABBA tunes? Honestly I’m looking through the program to refresh up on characters’ names and there isn’t even a synopsis in here. This is my hatred of the jukebox musical. Songs grow organically from the character and situation. You cannot try and force a script around specific songs, maybe in Moulin Rouge it works but you can’t restrict the list of songs to the greatest hits of one band. Certainly you cannot sing ‘Honey Honey‘ when reading your mothers diary. Knowing that your mum slept with three men at the same time and calls one a ‘love machine’ would be creepy enough but singing a song about it…

Again this is a show for people who don’t go to the theatre much. It is pre-sold on people liking ABBA songs. Audience members sang along and children tried to dance in the aisles (before being told to stop) which indicates they enjoyed it but I’ve seen people do that in English Pantomime shows – it’s not necessarily a sign of excellence on-stage.

Not that the cast weren’t talented singers or actors but the emotion was forced into songs that just didn’t have that level of emotion in them and the jokes were tired and predicable (though the actress playing Rosie seemed to be a crowd pleaser). The women’s costumes are all garish nods to the time while the men’s lack of costuming was a highlight. Is that why it is set on some Greek Island? So men could take off their shirts? Did they need to resort to well-oiled topless men for appeal? Apparently so. I shouldn’t judge harshly on what is meant only to be a bit of fun but I’ve seen other shows like Rock of Ages that offer fun, laughs and songs that have been adapted for the characters and scenario to add depth.

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