Thank ABBA for the music... Max Rawlinson reviews Mamma Mia at Bristol Hippodrome, running from the 14th June-2nd July. 

Judy Craymer’s feelgood sensation has belted its way into Bristol, celebrating 23 years since its original premiere in London’s West End in April 1999.

Since then, 65 million people have watched the musical in 50 productions in 16 different languages, and it’s spawned two record-breaking film adaptations. Mamma Mia! The Movie became the world’s highest-grossing musical film upon its release in July 2008, and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, released ten years later in July 2018, is now the most successful live musical film sequel of all time. 

As a big fan of both films who had never watched the stage musical that inspired them, I wasn’t sure what to expect when I arrived at the theatre, which made the experience even more enjoyable. This outstanding cast bring the story of a mother, a daughter and three possible dads on a Greek island idyll to life with infectious energy, stunning singing and dancing talent, and a good dose of humour! 

Image credit - Brinkhoff Moegenburg

It's impossible not to sing along and smile throughout while listening to the cast flawlessly perform ABBA’s timeless hits. Sara Poyzer lifts the roof off with her powerhouse performance of ‘The Winner Takes It All’ as Donna Sheridan, while Nicky Swift and Helen Anker consistently have the audience laughing at their antics as Donna’s best friends Rosie and Tanya. 

Image credit - Brinkhoff Moegenburg

Also deserving of a mention is James Willoughby Moore as Pepper. He not only claims the biggest laughs of the night, but also manages to hold the audience in awe during his attempt to win Tanya’s affections with an impeccable sequence of raunchy dance moves to ‘Does Your Mother Know,’ one of my personal highlights. 

Image credit - Brinkhoff Moegenburg

Credit must also go to the lighting and set designers. They create a relatively simple but highly effective atmosphere which successfully allows the audience to feel like flies on the wall at the show’s Greek island setting, rather than a theatre auditorium, while not distracting from the action on stage. Then there’s the costuming, which couldn’t capture the characters’ individual personas any better – and how could anyone possibly resist the fabulous ABBA-inspired fashions on display in the encore? 

Mamma Mia! will be at Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday 2nd July. Tickets are available here. 

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The Bristol Hippodrome
Theatre
Bristol Hippodrome theatre inside

One of the country's top provincial theatres, which proudly continues to stage major West End and Broadway productions.

Mamma Mia! at Bristol Hippodrome
Theatre
Mamma Mia! at Bristol Hippodrome

Join the ultimate feel-good party at Mamma Mia!, the world’s sunniest and most exhilarating smash-hit musical!