Reviewed By Selwyn Manning – Scoop Co-Editor
The story goes like this: A Greek Island, a mother, a daughter, one wedding, three possible fathers all invited to walk 20-year-old Sophie down the aisle. Imagine the intrigue, the turmoil – this is comedy at its best.
Over 10 million people worldwide have seen this superb show and now it’s New Zealand’s chance to sample the fabulous Mamma Mia – the hit musical based on hit after hit of the 1970s super-group, ABBA.
Mamma Mia is currently on stage at Auckland’s The Edge Civic cinema.
The Australian performance is changed little from the original – there are slight Australasian-isms: here a little slang, there a cultural twist. But this is a family show that everyone will enjoy.
The promoters say: “Writer Catherine Johnson's sunny, funny tale unfolds on a tiny Greek island. On the eve of her wedding, a daughter's quest to discover the identity of her father brings 3 men from her mother's past back to the island they last visited 20 years ago.
“The story-telling magic of ABBA's timeless songs propels this enchanting tale of love, laughter and friendship, and every night everyone's having the time of their lives!”
I have to say the promoters are right on all accounts. Mamma Mia's brilliance is that it draws applause from near everyone, even card carrying anti-ABBA obsessives will be wowed by the comedy of this performance! Mamma Mia is a must see show. And yes, you are guaranteed to be clapping and tapping by the end of the night even if your memory of ABBA is one of dread!
Mamma Mia’s sensational Australian cast centres around Sophie (played by talented singer/actor Kellie Rode) and her mother Donna (played by the marvellous Silvie Paladino).
From the moment the curtain is raised Rode captures her audience. There is Sophie: open, raw with all her hopes, loves, wants and wonders all wrapped up within every gesture, expression and song. It’s a flawless delivery. Mamma Mia is a show of strong even hilarious characters, but Rode ensures Sophie is the jewel. She’s a Musical Theatre Degree graduate of the prestigious Western Australian Academy of Performing Arts (WAAPA). Rode made her professional debut as an original cast member of Mamma Mia and quickly rose to play Sophie for the Sydney season. It is easy to see why.
Paladino is a seasoned star performer, widely known throughout Australia with a long line of leading roles including Les Miserables, Hair, Cats, and Miss Saigon. Paladino is a classy actor, and a singer of note, who makes this show work – she’s key to a continuous chorus of comedy that uses the ABBA hits to great effect – the juxtapositioning of ABBA songs to the story is often hilarious – Mamma Mia achieves all this without trivialising the genius of ABBA writers Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus.
This show is worth seeing for many reasons: music, comedy, theatre, and for a good simple tale. But all this is wrapped up into what is a memorable musical with a cast that would challenge the London and New York performances. After seeing this show in Auckland, I can see why Australia’s Steve Price, of 2UE RADIO, said: “I’ve seen MAMMA MIA! in London, New York, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Sydney and, without a doubt, the Australian cast walks away with it. They’re the best!”
Be assured, Mamma Mia is a show not only worth seeing it is a Hit Show well worth travelling to see. Here in Auckland is an event to plan a holiday around.
Tuesday - Saturday 8.00pm
Wednesday 1pm, Saturday 2pm and Sunday 5.00pm.
For general box office tickets
Call Ticketek 09 307 5000, visit
or at any Ticketek outlet.
Performance lasts approximately 2 hours 30 minutes (with interval)