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BWW Review: MAMMA MIA! at Regal Theatre


Record breaking jukebox musical gets Perth dancing and laughing

BWW Review: MAMMA MIA! at Regal Theatre With a soundtrack full of ABBA hits, MAMMA MIA! is a popular musical that has broken records all around the world. Serasi Entertainment's Perth production showcases the cultural icons of ABBA perfectly, with wonderful performances and clever staging being enhanced, rather than driven, by the soundtrack full of classics.

MAMMA MIA! is a musical juggernaut in and of itself. Having first premiered in 1999, it is now the 7th longest and 9th longest running musical on the West End and Broadway respectively (in both instances the longest running jukebox musical), has grossed over $4 billion, and spawned a movie and movie sequel. Whilst the music of ABBA may play a part in this, the musical is careful not to lean too heavily onto the band. Indeed, whilst many of the songs are familiar to many, there are others that may only be known by the ABBA die-hards. Serasi Entertainment's show is proof of the concept, driven by talented performers and dancers, with wonderful staging and eye-catching costumes showing the hard work of the entire creative team.

Playing the lead character of Donna is Holly Easterbrook, who only recently moved to WA from the UK. Easterbrook's impressive list of West End shows, and UK tours speaks for itself, but she proved to a new audience how skilled she is. Her acting as a hard-working single mother keen to move on from the past is sharp and witty, whilst her singing is flawless. If this performance is anything to go by, Perth has gained a true star of the stage. As Sophie, Donna's daughter on the verge of marriage and yearning for independence, is Georgia Unsworth. She shows off her wonderful singing voice whilst effortlessly bringing the hope and naivete in Sophie that drives the show.

BWW Review: MAMMA MIA! at Regal Theatre

As Donna's friends and former backing singers Rosie and Tanya were Hayley Parker and Fifi Mondello. Both are talented performers and came into their own, singing superbly and leaving the audience in stitches. Claudia Haines-Cappeau and Dakota Leak played Sophie's friends Lisa and Ali. Haines-Cappeau is consistently impressive whilst Broome local Leak shows off her acting and singing skills to complement her skills as a dresser and choreographer. Sam Rabbone, Alexander Circosta, and Ryan Dawson all play the part of prospective father perfectly as Sam, Bill and Harry. They quickly got into their characters and gave beautiful contrast for the three separate character arcs. Matthew Arnold as husband-to-be Sky. He played the part perfectly and whilst has few singing parts, we hope to see more of his vocal talents in future.

The ensemble is led by bumbling waiters Yoel Budianto and George O'Doherty, two funny characters that have terrific stage chemistry that brings humour to the show. Other stars of the ensemble include Benjamin Escott who plays several characters and dances superbly, dance captain Ashleigh Perrie who leads several high energy and eye catching dance numbers, the multi-talented Kier Shoosmith, and Tory Kendrick, who brings light and energy to every part she plays.

Director Chris Dodson utilized the setting perfectly, and credit must go to the Serasi team for the wonderful set they put together. The modular staging consisted of four main parts that were simply moved into different configurations to create the many settings throughout the show.

Whilst MAMMA MIA! is a jukebox musical at heart, it has become so much more, and Serasi entertainment weren't happy to just run through the ABBA classics. Whilst the show obviously appeals to ABBA fans, one does not need to be one to appreciate this show. The talented cast and crew have put together a show full of laughter and warmth, set against the classic songs of ABBA.

MAMMA MIA is at the Regal Theatre until November 13. Tickets through Ticketek.

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From This Author David Bravos