Mamma Mia: A Review

By Christopher Heide

Broadway hit, Mamma Mia!, has returned to Seattle for a limited one week engagement. Surreal, colorful and tightly-paced, this show is a masterclass in true showmanship and musicality. When a musical is made into a feature film, the movie often roots in popular culture as the main iteration of that production. It’s difficult to think of Mamma Mia! without thinking about Meryl Streep's performance in the 2008 film. Thankfully, this high-energy rendition easily stands on it’s own.

According to the press release, the plot unfolds as follows:

“An independent, single mother who owns a small hotel on an idyllic Greek island, Donna is about to let go of Sophie, the spirited daughter she’s raised alone. For Sophie’s wedding, Donna has invited her two lifelong best girlfriends- practical and no-nonsense Rosie and wealthy, multi-divorcee Tanya- from her one-time backing band, Donna and the Dynamos. But Sophie has secretly invited three guests of her own. On a quest to find the identity of her father to walk her down the aisle, she brings back three men from Donna’s past to the Mediterranean paradise they visited 20 years earlier. During 24 chaotic, magical hours, new love will bloom and old romances will be rekindled on this lush island full of possibilities.”

Mamma Mia! is truly paints a surreal, idealistic world where the themes of love and a desire to experience life to the fullest are showcased.

All of ABBA’s biggest hits provided some of the most enthusiastic, thunderous numbers in the show. “Mamma Mia”, “Dancing Queen”, and “Voulez Vous” all provided some of the greatest audience-pleasing moments of the show. The choreography by Anthony Van Laast was top-notch; an infusion of innovative contemporary technique and classic disco-era movement.

Mamma Mia! is wonderfully cast; there is not a single weak link in any of the performances. However, a few cast members truly stood out. 

As Rosie and Tanya, Sarah Smith and Bailey Purvis are remarkably hilarious, exuding expert comedic timing and stellar vocal prowess. The true standout moment of the show comes late in the second act. As recently featured on the series finale of Glee, “The Winner Takes It All” is an emotional, heart wrenching power ballad as sung by Donna (Georgia Kate Haege). The show-stopping number is an iconic moment in a musical filled with fun, memorable performances.

Catch Mamma Mia! while you can during its limited run. It is a tour-de-force!