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Friday, December 9, 2022

Review: Mamma Mia at The Regent Theatre, Stoke-on-Trent

Mamma Mia was the latest big name musical to stop off at The Regent Theatre, in Hanley, this week.

Packed from start to finish with Abba’s hits, the audience is pretty much won over before the show even starts thanks to the Swedish bands feel good classics. Yet the show itself is a riot of fun, frolics and friendship.

Thanks to the popularity of the films that followed the musical, the story is well known – a young woman (Sophie), who has grown up on a quiet Greek island wants to find out who her father is, so invites the three potential candidates to her wedding unbeknown to her mother Donna.

Always light-hearted and happy to poke fun at itself and have a real laugh, the musical is a joy to watch. It’s funny, doesn’t take itself too seriously and, of course, features so many of Abba’s greatest hits. What’s not to like?

In this touring production Sara Poyzer is truly excellent as Donna – she has it all, the emotion, an amazing voice, chemistry with all the characters and engages the audience. It is her along with Helen Anker and Nicky Swift as her best friends Tanya and Rosie, respectively, who are the stars of the show. Often hilarious, their interactions and dancing are hilarious, and they all have amazing voices.

But there is plenty of other talent on display in this production of Mamma Mia. The three ‘dads’ are great – adding more humour and a little bit of emotion to the story. Richard Standing is immensely likeable as Sam Carmichael, Daniel Crowder gives a loveable performance as Harry Bright and Phil Corbitt is endlessly entertaining as the globe-trotting adventurer Bill Austin.

The raucous antics of the elder characters are contrasted with the quieter, more serious side plot of the young couple, with Jena Pandya appearing as Sophie and Toby Miles as her husband-to-be Sky – both displaying their fantastic vocals. Then there is Pepper, played by James Willoughby Moore, the joker of the pack, who indulges in a somewhat one-sided romantic liaison with Tanya and proves to be a real hit with the audience in the process.

While the stories of old loves, new loves and a mother’s love for her daughter hold the plot together, it is always about the singing and dancing with Mamma Mia. The dance routines are fantastic and fun, with flippers, snorkels and 70s costumes lighting up the stage.

There are moments of strong emotion, tenderness and all out fun as the cast work through favourites including Does Your Mother Know That You’re Out, Mamma Mia, Waterloo, S.O.S, Dancing Queen, Chiquitita, Take a Chance On Me and many, many more.

After a joyous finale, the cast returned for a singalong send-off with all the audience on their feet to enjoy the atmosphere and music.

For a guaranteed feel good night out go to watch Mamma Mia at The Regent, where it is on until Saturday, May 21. Tickets are available online.

CNM

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