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Music, laughter and a few tears at Mamma Mia! at the Grand

Dancing queens of the West Midlands descended upon the Wolverhampton Grand Theatre last night, eager to be transported to the sunshine of a Greek island, courtesy of the smash hit musical, Mamma Mia!, writes Alison Norton.

Dancing Queens at The Grand
Dancing Queens at The Grand

Arguably the most successful jukebox musical of all time, Mamma Mia! is a complete celebration of the Swedish supergroup ABBA’s music and has been delighting audiences since its opening way back in April 1999.

Highly successful movie versions have followed, but there is nothing like a live performance of Mamma Mia! and this show completely filled the city centre venue, creating an uplifting, fun atmosphere to drive away the January blues.

The music of ABBA is notoriously tricky to perform, largely because it was written for two very specific, individual female voices. However, the cast of the current UK tour more than hit the outstanding standards of performance set by previous versions of the show, and is about to set out to wow audiences countrywide.

Do I really need to explain the storyline? Probably not, but in a nutshell just in case, bride-to-be Sophie is unsure of her dad’s identify, and so she invites three of her mother’s ex-lovers to her wedding, in the hope that she can work out who he really is before the big day. But how will her Mum, Donna react?

Set against a backdrop of an idyllic Greek island and with a host of amusing characters, Mamma Mia! is the perfect way to empty your mind and sit back and enjoy an evening of pure entertainment. You will laugh out loud, and then a tear will prick your eye in the same moment. It’s funny, it’s sentimental and it’s feel-good; what more can you ask?

The hits come thick and fast of course, with everything from ABBA’s very early songs including Honey, Honey and SOS, to Knowing Me, Knowing You, Take a Chance on Me, Slipping Through My Fingers, the mesmerising Voulez-Vous and of course the title song. The songs just keep on coming!

Nikki Davis-Jones’ direction is sharp and pacy and Nichola Treherne’s choreography is authentic, dynamic and makes you want to get up and dance! Sara Poyzer is the ultimate Donna Sheridan, with all the maturity the role demands, yet at the same time delivering the comic aspects of the character to perfection too.

She offered a vocal masterclass on stage with every number she sang, but without doubt, the highlight of the show was her emotional, poignant rendition of The Winner Takes It All. Warning: it’s a tear-jerker! Nicky Swift as Rosie and Phil Corbett as Bill produced the comedy performances of the evening, with outstanding stage presence and chemistry. Sarah Earnshaw as Tanya was frisky and funny, and her number, Does Your Mother Know? with Jaden Oshenye as Pepper and the boys, is a huge highlight. In fact, Jaden almost steals the show! He is one to watch!

Neal Craig as Harry was the perfect eccentric English gent and Richard Standing as Sam plays the handsome hero to perfection, bringing some much-needed romance into Donna’s humdrum life.

Jess Michaelmore was simply delightful as Sophie, offering an angelic vocal performance and together with Henryk Firth as Sky, they portrayed the epitome of a young couple in love.

An incredibly talented ensemble with a variety of characters completed the picture, with high energy song and dance routines, as well as seamlessly moving the set to ensure the scenes blend smoothly from one to the other.

Any orchestra accompanying a jukebox musical has the unenviable task of perfectly recreating the original sound, but Musical director Carlton Edwards and this Mamma Mia! band should be applauded for recreating the soundtrack and the costumes are of course FAABULOUS, with feathers, sequins and sparkle aplenty and that’s just the men Platform boots, satin jumpsuits and low-slung belts are a must!

Mamma Mia! is a musical everyone should see, so take your own Mamma, or someone else’s because there is ABBAsolutely nothing quite like it!

For tickets, visit or call 01902 429212.

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