Take a Chance on Mamma Mia at Sands Theatre

Back by enthusiastic demand, 
Mamma Mia, here I go again
My, my, how can I resist you?
Mamma Mia, does it show again
My, my, just how much I’ve missed you?

Ninety-nine per cent of the world’s lovers are not with their first choice. That’s what makes the jukebox play.

Willie Nelson

What makes the jukebox musical, Mamma Mia, play is the steady beating of ABBA’s heart, an irresistible rock rhythm, and the power of nostalgia. Now, comes a paeon to the good old days of the seventies when bell bottoms swept the world’s dance floors. Whether it was the best or the worst of times, we can remember it as rollicking good times when the ABBA machine is cranking out the tunes. Even if we were not yet alive, we can remember – that’s the power of nostalgia. 

JUKEBOX MUSICAL is a play in which a menu of popular songs from a particular group is entwined within a story with loose relevance to reality. In this case, the story begins when Sophie is about to be married. With a gnawing hope that her long-gone father would escort her down the proverbial aisle and proverbially give her away to the groom. Alas, Sophie finds her dream is not easily made true. For starters, she is not sure who her real father is. In her heyday, Sophie’s mom was a modern young woman. A dancing queen, she had lovers. At least three of them fit the timeframe leading to the birth of our star. What a predicament! What a novel premise for a lively, sometimes a bit risqué, story with a light-hearted look into the ramifications of past lives on the present circumstances.  

Sophie, her mom, and the three possible das pitch up on a Greek Isle for the wedding. SOS! As the plot rolls along, it’s clear that the characters, with the help of a first-rate professional cast, are willing to take a not-so-serious look at how human relationships intertwine. That’s the Name of the Game. 

MAMMA MIA! UK & International Tour 2023/2024

Complementing the virtually non-stop singing and dancing, is a stage set which at first may seem rather scant. Once the action gets rolling, however, the stage is replete with bodies twisting and shouting. The athleticism and acrobatics of the cast make the once-bare stage fill with energy and enthusiasm. There isn’t room for much of a stage set. And the costumes! Get ready for primary colours, wide white belts and the aforementioned bell bottoms. Hey, wanna go to the MBS dressed as seventies hipsters? 

Because there are so many ABBA songs and because the songlist of the musical is ever-evolving, one is never entirely certain of which songs will be in the performance. Here’s a short list to help you delve back into an era long ago, but never to be forgotten. 

To spur your nostalgia and pre- or post-ABBA-fest conversations, here are a dozen titles to contemplate: Money, Money, Money, Mamma Mia (Of Course!), Dancing Queen, Our Last Summer, Lay All Your Love On Me, C’mon Take a Chance on Me, Honey Honey, Super Trouper, Gimme! Gimme! Gimme!, The Name of the Game, Voulez-Vous, SOS, Slipping Through My Fingers.

Can you feel it? 

Are you ready to rock old style? 

Wanna Dance?

Research and writing help from JKJ

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