BWW Review: MAMMA MIA! at Capital Repertory Theatre

BWW Review: MAMMA MIA! at Capital Repertory TheatreIt's nearly impossible to not have fun while hearing some of ABBA's most iconic songs sung right before your eyes, especially by the wonderful team at Capital Repertory Theatre. Though the show itself is encompassed with flaws, Capital Rep's production of MAMMA MIA! is just what it should be: a fun night.

The production, which opened back in July, has been lifting audience's spirits and drawing in full crowds every night. Understandbly, as director Maggie Mancinelli-Cahill has done a fine job putting the 2001 Broadway hit together.

As usual, Freddy Ramirez's choreography shines above all else. Ramirez takes complete control of ABBA's energetic music and delievers with over-the-top numbers of dancing excellence with his powerful ensemble of Anna Fernandez, Harris Turner, Kaeli Heffner, Jalissa Watson, Joshua DeMarco and Taylor Hilt Mitchell.

Many of the secondary leads and smaller roles are also cast brilliantly, particularly Gil Brady as Sam and Patton Chandler as Sky. Both give some of the best, and most believeable, performances in the entire production, something that can be difficult when the material is quite basic. Also notable for Great Performances are Brian Calì (Bill), Gary Lindemann (Harry), Kara Mikula (Rosie), Carla Woods (Tanya), Alexandra McKenna-Mantica (Ali) and Nicole Zelka (Lisa).

While the smaller roles shined, the two leads often feel flat. Christina Carlucci as Sophie fits the role's persona but never pushes beyond the simple script. While her singing is beautiful in each number, her acting is often times forced and too exaggerated. Lyn Philistine as Donna, on the other hand, is the opposite. Whereas Carlucci often seems to be giving the audience too much, Philistine often does not give enough, losing the power of Donna along the way. She regains it for a quick moment in act 2, but is quickly lost again come yet another flashy number.

However, it should be noted that many of the show's flaws lay within its book, which is loosely written to fit as many ABBA hits as possible into one show. With a better script, perhaps Carlucci and Philistine could have taken their roles to the next level and given a performance that rises above the surface.

As always, the set, lighting and costume design are fantastic. Capital Rep often never dissapoints, and MAMMA MIA! is yet another example of that.

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From This Author Gianluca Russo