Review: Mamma Mia, London

Posted by , 2 December 2014

Will Mamma Mia live be better than the film version?

We had bought tickets for this show in advance, when we were planning our stay in London with Catherine.

I’ll admit that I was a bit nervous about seeing this show. We’d recently seen the film again during the Cinetransat season down by the lake and I hadn’t really enjoyed it – the music is great of course, but I found the acting seemed to be over-earnestness and the male actors all looked incredibly uncomfortable.

As always when I see live theatre, the first thing that struck me was that creative set design. With good lighting and simple sets, the same stage was transformed from the inside of a taverna into a bedroom, to a beach. All this achieved with construction that allows the various components to be quickly changed by the actors themselves.

The live show was many, many, MANY times better than the film. There seemed to be more joy in the performances and while I know that there is supposed to be some awkwardness for the male roles they seemed to be performed in a more relaxed, natural way – people being genuinely uncomfortable with a situation, not someone acting uncomfortable. And although we were forced to use our imagination for the scenes, the changes from one scene to the next seemed to flow much better. Maybe it’s the feedback from being in the middle of an enthusiastic audience that gives the live production more joy – maybes the actors perform better when they can see and hear the feedback from us.

And of course, being in a beautiful theatre helps. You really have the atmosphere of a special place, with the tiers of seats, boxes to the sides and the warren of corridors and bars you have to navigate through to find your seat.

The only problem is that I now have one Abba song as a constant “ear-worm“!


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