Theatre Review

'Mamma Mia!'

What a fun time at Theatre By The Sea

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We’ve seen the hit musical, “Mama Mia!” and the movie version so many times we know many of the lines.

TBTS Owner/Producer Bill Hanney said the show is his top requested one and he had been trying to get the rights for years. He was so sure of its success at the box office, he is presenting it for an unprecedented five weeks., running through July 21.

If Friday night’s press opening is any indication, he should have no problem filling the seats.

“Mama Mia!” is a crowd pleaser. With 22 great ABBA songs, characters that are quirky and likeable, love stories, singing, dancing, and lots of laughs, you can’t go wrong…if your casting is spot on.

This version has a good cast, one that plays off each other with sharp comic timing, with each of the main characters having his or her moments.

To me, the best part of the show is the ensemble, which is called upon by the writers and director (TBTS Producing Artistic Director Kevin B. Hill, who is also the choreographer), to perform a number of intricate dance scenes.

Credit also to Scenic Designer Kyle Nixon, who has rejected the use of a cylindrical plain white structure used in other versions we have see, replacing it with a glowing ocean background that convinces the audience that the action takes place on an island.

His other sets and drops are right on. There are many, and Hill uses the ensemble to make quick changes.

And then there are Dana Pinkston’s elaborate costumes, from island casual to stunning, with a dance routine requiring complete snorkel gear.

You know the story. Sophie (Malia Monk) was raised on the island by her single mother, Donna (Erica Mansfield), who is planning her marriage to Sky (Nick Walker Jones).

Sophie reads Donna’s diary and discovers that there are three possible fathers. She secretly invites them to the wedding, hoping that whoever is her father will walk her down the aisle. This causes absolute chaos. Add two of Donnas oldest and closest friends, and you have the makings for a busy and hilarious story line.

A Warning: Don’t do the Rhode Island Beat the Crowd maneuver. If you leave before or

after the first bows, you will miss ten minutes of the best production numbers you will ever see, as the entire cast reprises three of Abba’s greatest hits, including “Waterloo”, which doesn’t fit into the story.

For tickets, call the box office at 782-8587 or go on line at boxofficetbts@gmail.com.

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