Reviews on Mamma Mia
Mamma Mia is a musical that is centered on the ABBA jukebox musical. Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Anderson who are both ex-members of the band are the composers of the songs that are performed in the musical. The first production was released to the public in 1999 at the West End Theater and to date continues to be staged in different places. The musical has a fictitious plot and the title is derived from the group’s song by the title “Mamma Mia” that was a major hit in 1975. In 2008, the musical was adopted into a romantic film that bears the same title and that has proved to be a great hit in the United Kingdom, outshining the Titanic. Both the musical and the movie have a similar plot with the same songs being used in the scenes involved. The Mamma Mia musical has been divided into two acts with the protagonist being Sophie, an islander that is pledged as the prospective wife to Sky, her fiancé. Sophie desires to be walked down the aisle by her father, who is unknown to her (Andersson & Ulvaeus, 2002).
The music infiltrated in the entire story is thematic in nature and helps in the advancement of the plot in a smooth flow. “I Have a Dream” is done at the preamble of the musical by Sophie as a way of sharing her desire to know and have her father walk her through her wedding. Her passionate vocals deliver her strong desire for the realization of the dream. Upon stumbling on her mother’s diary, she finds three intimate dates that her mother has had in the past and the song “Honey, Honey” is used to show the intimacy that Sophie’s mom shared with her three men. At the eve of her daughter’s wedding, Tanya and Rosie arrive and after showing them around the villa, Donna (Sophie’s mom) informs them of her unstable financial situation. The trio sings “Money, Money, Money” to emphasize the money problems and needs of their friend. With the arrival of Sam, Harry and Bill, Donna’s ex-lovers, Sophie meets them and they exchange pleasantries and appreciation for their presence at her wedding through “Thank You for the Music”.
The surprise element that Donna shows on coming across the men is accentuated by the song “Mamma Mia” which she sings with the Company. Donna then runs off and discloses to Tanya and Rosie her uncertainty as to which of the three men is Sophie’s father. “Chiquitita” is sung at this point by the trio as they share the secret. The two confidants try to raise her moods through “Dancing Queen” as a way of reminding her that she can be the girl who she once was. Sophie on the other hand, is indecisive as to who her father is and she shares her frustration to Sky who taunts her with “Lay All Your Love on Me” and assures her that he is the only man that she will ever need. During the hen night, Donna, Tanya and Rosie fetch their old costumes and entertain all who have attended with “Super Trouper”. The song sets the mood for partying and the arrival of Donna’s three ex-lovers in an all girls’ party drives the ladies nuts as they implore them to stay at the party through the song “Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)”. Sophie has a hunch that Bill is her dad and she confronts him with it and pleads with him to walk down the aisle (Andersson, Craymer, Ulvaeus & Dodd, 2006).
They decide to keep it secret and together they sing “The Name of the Game” to underscore the secretive tendencies that most of the people have resorted to. However, Sophie finds herself in another fix when Harry and Sam each propose to walk her down the aisle since she does not want to let any of the men down. “Voulez-Vous” is the last song in Act I. The next act opens with “Under Attack” to speak of the nightmare that Sophie is having. As Sophie is upset, she enters into a word fight with her mom and Sam arrives to calm Donna. Donna sings “One of Us” to him and they both realize that they are still in love through the “S.O.S” song. Meanwhile at the beach, Tanya turns down the flirtations of Pepper through “Does Your Mother Know?” Sophie and Sky get into a fight after he discovers why she invited Donna’s ex-lovers and he storms off. Sam arrives at the scene to console Sophie and offers some advice from his broken marriage through “Knowing Me, Knowing You”. Harry looks for Donna and offers to finance the wedding. As they converse, they recollect their fling by “Our Last Summer” (Hal Leonard Corp, 2005). Donna then goes to apologize and dress her daughter and sings “Slipping Through My Fingers” to describe her feelings. “The Winner Takes It All” is done by Donna to Sam as she confesses the heartbreak that he put her through but they still find out they care for each other. Rosie has fallen for Bill and urges him to think about it through “Take a Chance on Me” but they are interrupted by the arrival of the guests. At the wedding, Sophie and Sky decide they are not ready to be married and Sam coins the situation to his advantage by proposing to Donna.
Surprisingly she consents to the proposal by the song “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do” and they are married off. Sky and Sophie then leave for a tour round the world as they sing, “I have a Dream”. The musical ends with the whole cast performing “Dancing Queen”, “Mamma Mia” and “Waterloo” in costumes that have the ABBA design. The songs were done as a way of underscoring the issue at hand in the instance that the song was performed in the play and there were vocal variations to match the different moods in the musical. The stage is designed to interweave the songs and plot together as a way of telling the movie as if through a musical journey. Watching the musical reminded me of the Indian Films that are usually dominated by romantic storylines that have a lot of dancing and singing incorporated in them. The love story used music as a major plot instrument just like the Indian Films and in future, the musical can progress in the Indian Film market with the Mamma Mia film.
Andersson, B., & Ulvaeus, B. Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus’ Mamma mia! Van Nuys CA: Alfred Publishing Co., Inc., 2002
Andersson, B., Craymer, J., Ulvaeus, B., & Dodd, P. Mamma mia! How can I resist you? the inside story of Mamma mia! and the songs of ABBA. New York NY: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 2006
Hal Leonard Corp. Mamma MIA! Songs from the Broadway Musical. Franklin TN: Hal Leonard Corp, 2005.