Thank you for the music!

2010-10-06 14:27

Before Pierce Brosnan, aka James Bond, sent his tuneless SOS and Meryl Streep wowed Dancing Queens everywhere in Mamma Mia! the movie – there was the stage musical.

The all-local version is now on at the Montecasino Teatro and it’s worthy of every gushing, toe-tapping cliché you can dream up.

A collective shiver of delight ran up the spines of the opening night’s audience yesterday as the band hit the first familiar note written in the time of disco by two Swedish guys called Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus.

The two Bs in Abba probably couldn’t have imagined that the music they wrote while wearing bell-bottoms would have hip-hoppers bopping.

The cast features a clutch of familiar faces – including Ilse Klink, Kate Normington and Gina Shmukler, who easily pulls off her characters 15 technically-exacting musical numbers.

As Sophie Carmen Pretorius, who made her dreams come true by coming up tops in the reality TV audition to star in Disney’s stage version of High School Musical, proves again that she’s no one-hit wonder.

The trio of dads Sophie has to choose from – played by Anrich Herbst, Neels Clasen and Murry Todd – are all familiar faces on local TV, and all of then can sing. Which is much more than can be said for the threesome of actors who made the film.

This being the pinnacle of musical theatre, the basic requirement is a great voice – something every member of this proudly local cast has.

And all have an impressive pair of disco-dancing legs as well.

The structure of the musical, the creators’ use of colour and the deceptively minimalist set all complement the timeless music and the Super Trouper cast.

With little more than costumes and hues that whisper of island destinations, the audience is transported to a Greek island where visitors recline under vine-covered trellises and snorkel on coral reefs.

The story is a love tale with a large helping of friendship all told with 22 of the Scandinavian super-group’s biggest hits, dressed up in the glad rags of disco and star Stephen Jubber’s torso deserves a mention as one of the show’s visual delights – what’s not to like?

As the audience started filing out, having belted out Waterloo with the lycra-clad cast, one woman said: “You can’t be in a bad mood after that.”

While another said she’d like to see it again – straight away, and another bloke, having spent his last words singing, just said: “Wow.”

The mega-success of this musical worldwide proves what I have always suspected – everyone’s an Abba fan whether they know it yet or not.

Add to that the high-gloss finish the South African cast have put on the show and you have the perfect holiday show that’ll have everyone shouting Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! for a ticket. Book at Computicket.

» See 7 on Sunday for interviews with the cast members.

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