Sometimes, all you need at this time of year is to escape the hustle and bustle of festive shopping, freezing temperatures and the shock of your ever-dwindling bank account. 17 years after its first appearance on stage, Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ Mamma Mia!, still has the ability to help you do just that.
In one small corner of Scotland’s capital city, the sun beats down on the azure blue Mediterranean island idyll of Kalokairi. 20 year-old Sophie is about to marry her sweetheart Sky, and all she wants is her father to walk her down the aisle. The problem is, she has no idea who he is. On finding her former party-loving mother’s diaries, she invites the three most likely candidates to share her big day. Unsurprisingly, things don’t go exactly to plan.
Essentially a thin storyline woven around the hits of one of the world’s greatest pop bands, it’s no less entertaining for that, and while it may seem like the young things are the centre of it all, it’s the more mature members of the cast who are the heart and soul of the piece. Sara Poyzer as mother Donna is a knock-out, both vocally and emotionally, the performance is a pitch-perfect portrayal of a mother losing her only daughter to the world. As Donna’s former band-mates Rosie and Tanya, Jaqueline Braun and Emma Clifford deliver the lion’s share of the laughs and are no slouches vocally either, and as the trio of potential dads Richard Standing (Sam), Tim Walton (Harry) and Christopher Hollis (Bill), imbue life and spirit into characters that could have easily been two-dimensional.
As undemanding as the whole endeavour is, it still packs an emotional punch and the glorious music never fails to get an auditorium on its feet at the end. It’s pure entertainment and does what most great theatre should do – transport you to another time and place for a few hours.
Resist the temptation to hibernate this winter, get yourself along to the Edinburgh Playhouse and bask in the reflected sunshine of this uplifting, feel-good show. A real tonic for the soul on these long, cold winter nights.
Runs until 7 January 2017 | Image: Brinkhoff Mögenburg