BWW Review: MAMMA MIA! at Stadthalle Wien
MAMMA MIA! is back in town!
The Smash Hit Musical from the ABBA Boys Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus stops in vienna for a limited 3 week run. The mother of jukebox musicals will bring you an evening full of laughter and tears.
It seems like, everybody in the audience is familiar with the lyrics, no matter that they are in german. A perfect sample, that music especially the one from ABBA, speaks a unique language. The show is on the road since opening in Linz/Austria last summer. As a performer, an opening night is always something special but when you are on tour, you will have one every few weeks. That doesn't mean that you get used to it but it is something you got to experience more often, when you are on tour.
To open a show in Vienna is a challenge, the audience is well know for it's criticism. "They are hard to get,"an actor told us," but once you have them, you will never loose them."
A lot of weight for the well shaped shoulders of the touring cast, (Winner of the Broadway World Regional Award of Best Touring Show).
The show has been in town before. The international tour stopped by at the Stadthalle a couple of times and the Vereinigte Bühnen Wien also had MAMMA MIA! production in their repertoire, some years ago. It looks like, DANCING QUEEN doesn't get old. It's almost 20! years,( April 1999) since the opening night at the Prince Edward Theatre in London.
There must be something magical in MAMMA MIA! Apart from the songs, which we all know very well (even at 2a.m. in a karaoke bar) and the easy going story, it's about the people in the cast.
If they don't click and stick together, MAMMA MIA! is as exciting as watching grass grow.. They have to build up an energy that kicks you out of your seat but also creates some touching moments, to leave not one dry eye in the audience.
For some in the cast, the stop in vienna is a sort of coming home. Sabine Mayer (Donna), Barbara Raunegger (Tanja), Katharina Gorgi (Sophie), Bettina Schurek (Cover Tanja) and Peter Knauder (Cover Eddie), got their PA Diploma in Vienna. It is time to spread their MAMMA MIA! love with Vienna's audience.
MAMMA MIA! might sound like a safe choice but it isn't at all. It's far more dangerous than you might think. Audiences are familiar with the show and it's characters. Bore them with not really motivated actors on stage and you might loose them. The casting is an important key for MAMMA MIA!. You need people who have done the show before and know what it is all about. Leaders for the younger ones in the group.
Sabine Mayer (Donna), Betty Vermeulen (Tanja) and Barbara Raunegger (Rosie) have played their parts before.
Mayer is able to add something fresh and new to her performance. She and Gorgi will give you goose bumps with "slipping through my fingers".
The Winner takes it all (ger.:Der Sieger hat die Wahl) is and always will be the 11 o'clock number. Mayer pulled the trigger and brought the house (Stadhalle) with a jaw dropping performance down.
Vermeulen (Tanja) and Raunegger (Rosie) are that Kind of insane friends, everybody should have on speed call. You never might get to know, that they have played their parts before, it feels like a first night performance.
Of course, MAMMA MIA! is all about the Girls but don't forget the boys. The three possible fathers Karim Khawatmi (Sam), Detlef Leistenschneider (Harry) and Jörg Zuch (Bill) know what is important to keep up with the pace, the ladies provide.
MAMMA MIA! is not just a party, it is a story about relationships, mothers and daughters, sons, best friends and family. A story for everyone.
If you are not sure about visiting the show, check out the instagram profiles of Ali (Livia Wrede) and Lisa ( Abla Alaoui). They will take you backstage and you get to see the secret about the tours success. It's about the people. Their positive energy is contagious. MAMMA MIA! is simple and touching. It ill kick you out of your seats at the end of the evening.
All pictures: © Brinkhoff/Mögenburg
MammaMia Produktionsgesellschaft mbH