BWW Review: Mirvish's MAMMA MIA! was the Perfect Summer Musical
From the first crash of drums, you could feel the excitement ripple through the theatre. The beloved musical MAMMA MIA! returned to the Ed Mirvish Theatre for a limited engagement and audiences could not have been more thrilled. Telling the story of Sophie Sheridan and her mother Donna, the show explores themes of family, identity, and love - all set to a soundtrack of fabulous music by ABBA.
Sophie (Lucy May Barker), a 20-year-old bride-to-be wants nothing more than to have her father give her away at her wedding. The only problem? She has no idea who her father is. After finding her mother's old diary, Sophie discovers she has three possible fathers and promptly invites them all to her wedding. This sparks a whirlwind of emotions and nostalgia as her mother Donna (Shona White) confronts her old flames, while Sophie struggles to figure out which of the three men is her biological father.
Mark Thompson's minimalist staging perfectly captures the simplicity and beauty of life on a small island in Greece. Off-white rustic walls form the foundation of the set, spinning to create various spaces throughout the show. The lack of colour in the set allows Howard Harrison's lighting to take centre stage, especially in numbers like the title song where a deep red commands the stage.
The energy of the ensemble is propelled by Anthony Van Laast's incredible choreography. In 'Money, Money, Money' they perform stylized choreography - unifying to become a mob of enthusiastic townspeople. In contrast, numbers like 'Dancing Queen' and 'Super Trouper' are grounded in reality, with the dancing actually happening in the show's plot.
Bringing this story to life, White's performance as Donna stole the show. White has both the deep, smooth low notes to seduce in 'Money, Money, Money' and the powerhouse belt to sell the show's 11 o'clock number, 'The Winner Takes It All'. As Donna's daughter, Barker's sweet voice suits Sophie's innocence - but like White, Barker's vocals also open up to quite an impressive voice.
Mirvish brought fun in the sun with the International Tour of MAMMA MIA! It wasn't the first time this beloved musical graced Toronto audiences and based on this year's reception - it definitely won't be the last.
MAMMA MIA! was on stage from August 9 to 19, 2018 at Mirvish's Ed Mirvish Theatre, 244 Victoria Street, Toronto, ON.
For more information about Mirvish's upcoming shows, including their exciting 2018/2019 season, visit mirvish.com