Theatre Review: Mamma Mia @ New Theatre Oxford
by Evie Bennett
Can I preposition this review with a little note… the male actors in the production look like they’ve walked out from ‘The Dreamboys’ rather than a musical. Right, now that is out of the way, I can start telling you about the rest of the production.
Simple yet clever set design made it feel like the audience had washed up on the shore of the enchanting Greek island where Mamma Mia is set, transported from a rainy and cold November night. Undulating light projections created deep blue waves, and streams of brilliant bright light aped the hazy scorching sun streaming through white shutters on a balmy summers afternoon.
Many will have seen the film Mamma Mia, with Meryl Streep running up the gangway to greet her friends, and Colin Firth in eyeliner. This production kept things fresh with the addition of a few obscure ABBA tracks, whilst still channelling all of the feel-good joy that accompanies ABBA and this sweet tale of Sophie and her search for her father.
Donna and the Dynamos carried the show along with the three “Dads”; the comedy they created together was rib tickling and the resemblance to their counterparts in the film was perfect, the pinnacle of their chemistry together was their rendition of ‘Mamma Mia’ and ‘Waterloo’ in the infamous flared ruffled trousers and platform boots. Gillian Hardie and Emma Clifford as Rosie and Tanya deserve their own comedy double act after the performance they put in during ‘Chiquitita’, ‘Does Your Mother Know’ and ‘Dancing Queen’.
The staging and choreography was phenomenal: the perfect blend of goofy dancing in snorkels and flippers and impressive, well-honed dance moves. The sense of chaos and time passing in the background with eccentric lighting, wild choreography and slow-motion movement during ‘Gimme Gimme Gimme’ and ‘Voulez Vous’ was exhilarating and the perfect end to the first Act, having the audience yearning for more.
A particular mention must go to Brad Veitch as Eddie for his cheeky charisma, impressive stage presence and hilarious use of the Bagpipes.
Mamma Mia is in Oxford at the New Theatre until Saturday 25 November, get your tickets now to avoid missing out on this incredible celebration of all things ABBA. It is one of the greatest feelings, watching everyone leave the theatre with huge beaming smiles on their excited faces; Mamma Mia is the ultimate feel-good show and this incredible production does not disappoint, leaving you singing, dancing and "diggin' the dancing queen".