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BWW Review: MAMMA MIA! HERE WE GO AGAIN Based on the long-running, smash-hit stage musical of the same name, Mamma Mia! took the world - and the box office - by storm upon its release in 2008. Ten years later, the long-anticipated sequel to the first instalment was released, a 120-minute emotional roller coaster soundtracked by more of ABBA's greatest hits.

Written and directed by Ol Parker, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is both a sequel and a prequel. We switch between scenes from the 70s, when a young Donna Sheridan, fresh out of university, heads off on an adventure that leads her to Kalokairi, and the Greek island in the present day, where Sophie, now 25 - along with help from Sam, Tanya and Rosie - is preparing for the hotel's grand reopening as she takes over from Donna after one of perhaps the most controversial cinematic plot twists in recent years.

The main cast all reprised their roles and, although there's a distinct lack of Meryl Streep, who only really makes an appearance towards the film's conclusion, it's this unexpected turn of events - along with the prequel element - that take the film to the next level. Without this, the movie may not have had the same level as success, raking in $395 million at the box office.

Flashback scenes introduce a new ensemble of cast members. Lily James portrays young Donna, while Jessica Keenan Wynn and Alexa Davies embody the roles of young Tanya and young Rosie. Jeremy Irvine, Hugh Skinner and Josh Dylan join the cast, portraying young Sam, young Harry and young Bill respectively. The superb casting makes the flashback scenes work brilliantly, as the young actors evoke the twentysomething versions of the original cast through their on-point mannerisms and strong chemistry.

Cher also joins the cast as Ruby Sheridan for an appearance - albeit brief - and she adds a touch of Hollywood glamour to one of the climactic scenes. Although this cameo adds nothing of any substance to the film, it's very welcome as she duets on "Fernando" with Andy Garcia.

While one of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again's main themes is grief, there is still a much-loved light-hearted feel to the film. Plenty of spirit-lifting, comedic moments are dotted throughout, balancing out the emotion and chaos.

Partners-in-crime Christine Baranski and Julie Walters shine with their rendition of "Angel Eyes" - one of the funniest moments of the film. It is revealed to Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) that Walters' Rosie has split up with Stellan Skarsgård's character, Bill. Baranski's poised demeanour matched with Walters' hilarious expressions and quirks makes this an incredibly joyous scene that you will find yourself wanting to rewatch over and over again.

The film ends as you would expect it to - on a high - but audiences would not want it any other way. The ultimate feel-good film, it's a must-see romantic comedy that will instantly transport you to a warm, sunny summer's day - the perfect antidote to being stuck in lockdown, or faced with an unfriendly British weather forecast... Cue up Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again and tap into your inner dancing queen.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again is available to stream on Netflix from 26 June

Image courtesy of Universal Pictures

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