Back in Oz: Mamma Mia!

May 29, 2023 by Henry Benjamin
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This show is not for you if you hate ABBA’s music, great singing, great dancing, great production and a custom-built heart-warming story incorporating lyrics sung by the Swedish four.

But if you like the above, you are in for a treat, even if you have seen the show in the past.

Sydney’s Lyric Theatre has re-staged the 2023 return of the 2017 production of the popular musical, first produced in 1999 in London and first appeared in Australia at the Lyric in 2001.

In 2023, the curtain opens on the brilliant set designed by Linda Bewick. We are on a Greek island, and a bride-to-be is deciding to post some invites to special guests for her wedding.

Principal cast Photo: Sam Basso

Sophie [Sarah Krndija] decided to send three secret invitations for her upcoming wedding [limited spoilers for those who have not seen the show before or the 2008 movie].

Sophie and her mother, Donna [Elise McCann], live together on an idyllic Greek island. Donna’s invites were mailed to three of Donna’s lovers of days gone by, Sam [Martin Crewes], Harry [Drew Livingston] and Bill [Tim Wright].

Arriving on the island are Sophie’s friends Ali [Nina Carmen] and Lisa [Kadesa Honeyhill] with whom Sophie shares her secret.

Also invited are two of Donna’s old friends who inject the comedy aspect into the show, with Bianca Bruce and Deone Zanotto brilliantly playing Rosie and Tanya.

The story unfolds through the lyrics of ABBA’s songs backed by musicians under the direction of Hayden Barlitrop. And what’s a musical without dance? The performances from Pepper [Jordan Tomijenovic] and Eddie [Etuate Lute] were show-stoppers together with the ensemble.

As Sophie’s marriage to Sky [Lewis Francis] approaches, Donna’s former lovers realise why they have been invited.


I have to say that all the performers appeared to be enjoying the show themselves. No complaints about the singing, dancing, or acting. Just unadulterated exuberance. Mirrored by the audience.

Mamma Mia! is a restaging of the 2017 production with choreography [Tom Hogson], set [Linda Bewick], costumes [Suzy Strout],  lighting [Gavan Swift] and director Gary Young.

And sound wizard Michael Waters will certainly wake you up if you have had a nap during the interval!

All in all, it’s a fun visit to a Greek island, its characters and a wedding with a twist.

Since 1999, 65 million theatre-goers around the world have enjoyed this story written by Catherine Johnson to the music of ABBA.

Abba found international fame in 1974, winning for Sweden the Eurovision Song Contest with their song “Waterloo”.

Mamma Mia!’s run in Sydney will end on July 30. The show opens in QPAC’s Lyric Theatre in Brisbane on August 6 and Melbourne’s Princess Theatre from October 4.

If fun is on your agenda, this is a must see.

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