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Mamma Mia - Curve Review

23 years and continuing in the West End, multiple international productions, and 2 box office smash hit movies, Mamma Mia continues to delight audiences as the current UK and International tour arrives at Curve to continue the summer vibes well into September.
Helen Anker (Tanya), Sara Poyzer (Donna), Nicky Swift (Rosie. Photo by Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

The creative team of Judy Cramer, Phyllida Lloyd and Catherine Johnson mined gold with this show. Creating an easy-to-follow crowd-pleasing story that excellently entwines in the Abba hits by Benny Andersson and Bj√∂rn Ulvaeus. Lyrically rich the music sits perfectly within the show creating the ultimate jukebox musical.

The show centres around Donna Sheridan and her daughter Sophie Sheridan who is preparing for her wedding, only she doesn't know who her father is. After discovering her mother's diary Sophie discovers she has three potential dads, all of whom she decides to invite along for the celebrations. This sets the ball rolling for a joyous romp with those Abba hits at the forefront.

At the heart of the show is Sara Poyzer who is outstanding as Donna. Sara has a great ability to draw you in, she is instantly likeable and excels at the bigger joyous moments as well as the more intimate moments including a spellbinding rendition of 'Slipping Through My Fingers'. The vocal crowning glory comes in 'The Winner Takes It All', the whole number she is constantly building the layers of emotions and the tears roll down her face.

Donna certainly goes through an emotional rollercoaster of a journey throughout the show but her two best friends arrive and certainly bring out great humour. Helen Anker is a tantalizing delight as Tanya, she oozes confidence and appeal and matches perfectly with Nicky Swift's highly energised and tremendous Rosie. The trio have a fantastic and believable bond especially as they relive their youth and reunite 'Donna and The Dynamos' at Sophie's hen do. 

Mariella Mazzilli (Lisa), Jena Pandya (Sophie), Jasmine Shen (Ali). Photo by Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
Jena Pandya gives a star-making turn as Sophie. She begins as a wide-eyed dreamer hoping for answers as she opens the show with 'I Have A Dream' as she posts invites to her three potential fathers and develops and matures throughout. Jena crafts a beautiful journey throughout the show with clarity and with one of the cleanest vocals you'll hear. Jena's vocals are gorgeous throughout. Like Donna, Sophie comes with her own two best friends in Jasmine Shen as Ali and Mariella Mazzilli as Lisa who are both great support. 

The three dads are excellently captured. Broad Geordie travel writer Bill Austin played by Phil Corbitt, posh banker, past headbanger and spontaneous Harry Bright played by Daniel Crowder and the architect who longs for his Greek dream Sam Carmichael played by Richard Standing. The skill and delivery of these roles is superb, who would want one dad when you can have a third of these three?

Toby Miles is assured as groom-to-be Sky and a special mention must go to a phenomenal stand-out performance by James Willoughby Moore who is hilarious as Pepper, he dazzles with a real cheeky chappy charm especially as he flirts with Tanya in the cracking 'Does Your Mother Know?' in the second act.

The female ensemble of Mamma Mia. Photo by Brinkhoff-Moegenburg
A youthful ensemble brings texture and energy to the musical numbers and to Anthony Van Laast's choreography. The big dance sequences have your feet tapping along and longing to jump up on stage and join in with the party. The act one closing numbers of 'Gimme Gimme Gimme' and 'Voulez-Vous' are highlights.

The music in itself is a star element and is brought to life fantastically with a live band under the musical direction of Carlton Edwards. There's a rousing curtain call of a trio of numbers that gives the audience to stand up and sing and dance along.

The set design by Mark Thompson roots us in the Greek taverna with white walls and blue backdrops embossed by Howard Harrison's lighting which comes to the fore in the numbers and the aforementioned curtain call. 

In a world where the news is often filled with doom and gloom, Mamma Mia continues to be the perfect tonic of music and humour delivered by a spellbinding cast, it's good for the soul. Leave all your troubles at the door and escape to this Greek paradise. Be sure to say 'I Do, I Do, I Do' and spend all your 'Money, Money, Money' on a ticket. Simply brilliant.

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mamma Mia continues at Curve until Saturday 24th September 2022. Tickets are avaliable from www.curveonline.co.uk. The tour continues thereafter, find full tour dates at https://mamma-mia.com/#uk-and-international-tour

Helen Anker (Tanya), Sara Poyzer (Donna), Nicky Swift (Rosie) and company. Photo by Brinkhoff-Moegenburg

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