Stage West welcomes a musical theatre extravaganza with the show Mamma Mia by Judy Craymer is a show for the ages. This brilliant rendition of the all time classic is something that you will want to watch over and over again. This musical is based off of the movie with the same name and has a hilarious storyline that ends with a beautiful twist that truly makes this show worth while. Mamma Mia is a tale of loss, gain, family and love. When the daughter of a single mother is ready to walk the aisle she decides to make it her mission to find out who her father really is. Sophie, the daughter, finds her mother Donna’s, diary with the name of three suitors she had the year she got pregnant with Sophie. Sophie’s efforts to discover her true father lead to trials and tribulations that will make you laugh and cry along with the characters. This is perfect nostalgia for those who have seen the movie and a brilliant ride for those who have not.
In this performance there is most definitely no lack of effort from the cast with their fantastic characterization of these beloved roles. Reaching standards of a movie so dear to the hearts of everyone is a challenge that can make or break a production. Stage West however has made this look easy. Not only do the actors share many physical characteristics to the original cats, but they also sound and act almost exactly like how they are portrayed in the movies. While each performer does add his or her own twist to each character, it is done in a way that does not take away from the show, it only makes it better. The portrayal of Donna Sheridan for example, done by actress Jane Cook, is something to be admired. She has an outstanding resemblance and singing style to the one and only Meryl Streep. The character of Donna’s daughter, Sophie, is also performed with amazing accuracy by Brittany Clough. Throughout the entire show her energy draws your eye in and keeps you hooked. This is only helped by her charismatic and over-enthused depiction of the original character played by Amanda Seyfried.There were hardly any faults at all when it came to the stage impressions of these characters. There were slight differences to the movies, such as a slightly more demure portrayal of the Aunts of Sophie, but taken in the grand scheme of things this slight error in characterization is something that can most definitely be forgiven. Everyone on that stage had incredible chemistry and even though a creative licence was taken with the aunts it did not take away from the beautiful connection they had with each other and the rest of the characters onstage. The last few characters that really stood out were the three possible fathers. Not much can be said without spoiling the show, but these factors created a suspenseful and wholesome storyline that made watching this show an adventure that you do not want to miss out on.
While the characterization was a spectacular feat it was really the musical performances that brought the entire show together. The live band, made up of Konrad Pluta, Jeremy Coates, Jeff Fafard, Susan Vacroe, and Brad Steckle made for a spot on reenactment of what made the movie so beloved in the first place. Every song was perfectly done by this band, using a live band can cause challenges for some actors but the synchronization between the live music and the characters was impressive and well done. This feat combined with the beautiful voices in the cast and the impeccable choreography made for music numbers that you couldn’t look away from. Choreographer Stephan Dickson outdid himself with this performance as every song had choreography that fit like a glove. The humerus physical comedy in the more upbeat and hilarious numbers w1as contrasted beautifully with the emotional and passionate movements that were seen in the slowed down and soulful pieces. Whenever the music would start the audience would be entranced in the action happening onstage which is what made this musical a true treat to view.
Stage adaptations of movies can be a slippery slope, but Stage West has once again shown it’s talent in their production of Mamma Mia. This is an ideal way to spend an evening. You get the hospitality and delicious food from the staff and then you get to sit back and relax as the performers give you a show that you will not soon forget. This is a production that is perfect for people of all ages and will keep you entertained all the way through. This show runs from November 15- February 9 which makes this a perfect gift to give to a theatre lover or someone who just wants a good laugh. For more information or tickets go to https://stagewestcalgary.com/mamma-mia/.