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Review BH Mamma Mia! the musical 2022

Love and laughter what a musical mix
Review BH Mamma Mia! the musical 2022

Six years ago Nailsea People absolutely loved the musical Mamma Mia! As we wrote here - see image. Well the show is back at the Bristol Hippodrome until Saturday, July 2 – bigger and better than ever and on Wednesday night we sent reviewer Melanie Greenwood to enjoy a magical moment of nostalgia.

​If you long for a good night out, to not think about the woes of the world and keep that warm and happy feeling for a long time, then book your ticket to see Mamma Mia! at Bristol Hippodrome. It should be prescribed for good mental health.
This gorgeous romantic comedy, filled with Abba’s smash hit songs, weaves a story that stole the hearts of more than 65 million people globally in 450 cities, since it was written by Bristol’s Catherine Johnson in 1999.
If you want a PC musical, then this racy, sexy story may not tick your boxes.
This is an ancient-feeling, female-friendly tale, set in Greece about a woman with three lovers who conceives a baby and that darling daughter grows up wanting to know who her daddy is, so invites all the mysterious would-be sperm donors to her wedding.
I’ve seen the films and loved them. In fact, Mamma Mia made me laugh for the about the only time when my medic son was in Afghanistan.
The Hippodrome version, with its amazingly simple, yet effective staging, still warms the cockles of my heart.
The show’s wonderful Mamma, Donna Sheridan, played superbly by Sara Poyzer, belts out the Abba hits but it’s her gently delivered ‘Slipping through my Fingers’ as her daughter gets ready to marry, that had me near tears.
I wasn’t expecting that at all.
I loved her funny, rude and honest relationships with her bestie friends, down-to-earth Rosie (Nicky Swift) and elegant, sexy rich man-eater Tania (Helen Anker).
It reminds me of those wonderful long-standing friendships between women of a certain age. Of which I am now and thank God I still have those anchors in my life.
The minx of a daughter, Sophie Sheridan, played by Jena Panda, takes to her role like a duck to water, and is wonderful at all times but I especially loved her in the dreamy, panicky sequence when she realises just what actions she’s set in motion by reading her mum’s diary and determining her fate.
Now, for the men. Richard Standing, who plays the suitor Donna really loves, the one who got away and never stopped loving her, was played by the understatedly sexy, Sam Carmichael, (Silent Witness, When Did You Last See Your Father).
The friend I went with, was just as admiring and agreed he was the man to persuade her to the altar. And anywhere else. The gut-wrenching song, ‘The Winner Takes It All’ between him and Donna, brought rapturous applause.
Daniel Crowder, who played the rich stockbroker Harry Bright, was lovely in his very straight way, even if he was gay. Here was a man who had loads of money but left behind his impulsive ways, while Phil Corbett, playing Bill Austin, hit a pitch-perfect note as the guy who saw himself as a writer, a serious and lonely figure, until Rosie gets her hot hands on him.
Sky, (Billy Downes) as the would-be groom to Sophie, did his innocent best to show what it means to really love someone for who they are, not put on a show of a wedding to find a father.
The whole joyful ensemble, directed by Phyllida Lloyd, played it for superb laughs and kindness and I credit choreographer, Antony Van Laast CBE for his unique and fast-paced moves, the wonderful costumes, by Lucy Gaiger, in particular the dreamy undersea scene and gorgeous finale wedding.
The show was a sell-out and a stand-up ovation was irresistible. The actors did a brilliant encore in full Abba-style of Waterloo and Dancing Queen.
If I could prescribe joy then Mamma Mia at Bristol Hippodrome would be it. Don’t miss this. You need it.

Melanie Greenwood.

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