By Michael Karlo Lim
I’LL admit, I’m only familiar with a handful of the Swedish cult pop group ABBA’s songs and have just caught the second installment of the movie version to a lukewarm personal register. The PussyKat, on the other hand, was ecstatic with the news of Mamma Mia!’s return to Manila after we failed to catch its previous runs. Invitations to the gala came with the request to dress in theme so we, of course, dug out the flared jeans and bell-bottoms.
Set on an unnamed Greek island paradise, the musical ingeniously weaves ABBA’s timeless songs into the story of love, family and friendship. More than twenty-two of ABBA’s greatest hits burst out in perfect continuity from the spoken lines of the script as if these selections from a discography spanning several years were explicitly written for the story instead of the other way around.
“I Had A Dream,” opens the show with the lead character Sophie’s quest to find the identity of her father. A blind invitation brings three men from her mother’s romantic past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago. Hijinks ensue and songs like Take A Chance On Me, The Winner Takes It All and Does Your Mother Know figure uncannily accurately into the scenarios. A stellar cast with incredible chemistry buoys entirety with an almost unnatural energy to cause the involuntary head bob and toe-tap at the very least. The faster-paced numbers unfold seamlessly into the next with slow songs softening the delightfully dizzying pace in between. The house was up on its feet by the epilogue number of the titular Mamma Mia, and the Titas of Manila went wild with The Dancing Queen. We got out of the experience intensely buzzed and rushing to the lobby gift shop for the official soundtrack. Mamma Mia! is definitely the “sunniest of all musicals” and is ABBA-solutely entertaining.
The show regularly runs from Tuesdays to Sundays until October 21, 2018 at The Theatre at Solaire in Manila.
MAMMA MIA! International Tour features a full cast of seventy members from the UK Tickets are now on sale through www.ticketworld.com.ph or through 891-9999.
Visit the MAMMA MIA! website for more information at: www.mamma-mia.com