Mamma Mia, it’s freezing outside!
On the coldest day yet this winter I decided to indulge myself with the Greek sun and tunes of ABBA. I had much fun watching Mamma Mia, but a lady sitting next to me had a more diverse emotional experience. When Donna started singing “Slipping through my fingers” the lady next to me broke down into tears. So Mamma Mia can be quite an emotional rollercoaster turns out.
Novello Theatre is part of the Delfont Mackintosh Theatres Group, which I already covered in my very first post.
Theatre opened as Waldorf Theatre in May 1905 together with its pair Aldwych Theatre at the opposite end of the building. The name was changed to the Strand in 1913. In 1915 the entrance to the theatre pit was bombed during an air raid, however the performance went on. The theatre was refurbished in 1930 and was struck again by a bomb during the WW2. The theatre went under major 6 months-long reconstruction and changed its name to Novello in 2005. Mamma Mia has been on run since 2012.
The musical is based on the songs of ABBA, a Swedish pop group topping charts in Europe and the Americas in the 70s and 80s. The story evolves on the Greek island of Kalokairi, where 20 year old bride-to-be Sophie lives with her single-mother Donna, they run a small taverna/hotel together. Sophie wants her father to walk her down the aisle during the wedding, but she does not know who the father is, so she reads her mother’s diary and sends the wedding invitations to three men who could potential be her father. Donna has no idea about Sophie’s undertaking and as she is setting up the taverna for the wedding 3 men from her past appear on the island on the same day to stay in her taverna/hotel. Sophie supposed she would know which one of those three men, Sam, Bill, Harry was her father once she saw them, but she was wrong, so she confesses that she wrote the invitations and asks them not to tell Donna they are on the island for the wedding. The same evening it is Sophie’s hen do and Sam, Bill and Harry unintentionally crash it. They all get a small chat with Sophie and realise why they have been invited and all three of them offer Sophie to walk her down the aisle. On the wedding day Sophie wakes up after a nightmare as she is having hard time keeping a secret behind inviting Sam, Bill and Harry from her mother and her husband-to-be, Sky. Donna thinks Sophie’s upset because she has doubts about the wedding and has an argument with her about getting married at the age of 20; Sophie storms out of the room. Sam tries to talk to Donna and we find out that both of them still have feelings for each other, but due to the terms of their separation they try to restrain the feelings. Sophie and Donna make up and Donna helps Sophie get ready for the wedding. Donna walks Sophie down the aisle and before the ceremony begins she announces that Sophie’s father is attending the ceremony and Sam, Bill and Harry all three of them stand up because they all think they are the father. The truth is even Donna is not sure who the father is. Sam, Bill and Harry agree to share custody as they all love Sophie. Sophie calls off the wedding as she wants to enjoy her time with Sky and travel with him before tying the knot, Sky agrees. Sam uses the opportunity to propose to Donna as the wedding is already set up and they get married.
The songs for the musical were composed by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus, former members of ABBA. The story was written by British playwright Catherine Johnson. The show premiered in 1999 in Prince Edward Theatre, London.
Director: Phyllida Lloyd
Producer: Judy Craymer
Casting: David Grindrod Associates
020 7437 2506
4th Floor, The Palace Theatre, Shaftesbury Avenue, London, W1D 5AY
The ticket price was the same on Amazon as the theatre official booking site, so I went with Amazon Tickets as it just took one click. £32.5 for the middle seat in the stalls, I think it was a pretty good deal for the West End musical. I had a perfect view from my seat!
Running time is 2 hours and 35 minutes.
The Theatre Rat