The Grand season goes out in (disco) style!
When you get invited to see a show at the Grand Theatre on opening night, it's almost certain that you're going to have a good time. But there are some shows one walks away from having had an exceptionally good time, one that you wish you could repeat over and over again. Mamma Mia! is one of those shows.
Having been a fan both of the Mamma Mia movie and the music of ABBA, I couldn't wait to see this show, but I wasn't quite sure what to expect. There were a few scenes that I wasn't sure were going to translate well onto the stage -- but boy, what I wrong. The entire cast, set designers, director, writer, etc. did a phenomenal job of telling this by turns funny, heart-wrenching, and rollicking-good-time of a story on the Spriet Stage.
The entire cast did a wonderful job of bringing these characters to life, but there were, in my estimation, a few standouts worth highlighting.
Jan Alexandra Smith, who played the role of Tanya, was a delight to watch! Fearless and spunky with a lot of heart and the just right measure of guts, Smith brings the character of Tanya to life brilliantly. This role is a sharp departure from her other roles this Grand season, namely Ebenezer Scrooge in A CHRISTMAS CAROL, Johannah Donnelley in VIGILANTE, and Mrs. Ross in THE WARS. The contrast between those roles and this serves to highlight Smith's immense talent and versatility.
Similarly, Katie Kerr brings the role of Sophie to the stage in all the wide-eyed innocence one would expect from a young bride-to-be who is looking for answers about her while looking optimistically toward the future. This is Kerr's debut performance for the Grand, and I'm sure she will be back!
Finally, Rebecca Poff as Donna and Nicola-Dawn Brook as Rosie brought their superb acting, singing, and more than a few standout dance moves to the stage in "grand" style!
But, as I said, the entire cast truly was memorable.
And then there's the music. Oh, the music! You just can't not sing along when it comes to ABBA, can you? Apologies to any of the people sitting around me (especially my friend who sat next to me) for having to endure the strains of my "singing," but I can't help it. These songs are not only woven beautifully into the story unfolding on stage, they also are the kind of familiar, nostalgic tunes that absolutely compel the audience to tape their toes and raise their voices. Personal favourites of mine were the scenes that included "Dancing Queen" and "Chiquitita," as well as "Slipping Through My Fingers" (the latter of which made this mama of at tween girl who is taking her first brave steps toward independence shed a few tears).
Take my word for it: Don't leave before the VERY end of the production. You'll be glad you stayed. Hope you brought your dancing shoes!
This was an awesome way to close out the 2018-19 season at the Grand. This fun (mostly) upbeat show is the perfect send off into the summer months. Big, heartfelt thanks to The Grand Theatre for inviting me to review this awesome, awesome show!!!
Curious as to what the Grand has in store for next season? Check out their 2019-20 season announcement, here.