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Posted on: Wednesday, 1 September 2010

Mamma Mia at Artscape Theatre in Cape Town – a review

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My gran has been down from Johannesburg visiting and since my mom and I love the theatre we thought it would be a great treat to take gran to watch Mamma Mia. It was a Thursday evening and the air had a crisp bite to it, off I went to my parent’s house to fetch my mom, gran and my parent’s elderly next door neighbour for a slightly different girl’s night to what I am used to …

Mamma Mia All Star SA CastWe decided to leave quite early in order to make sure we could get there in time and didn’t need to rush the grannies because there is often a long wait for the lift and there are a lot of stairs to manoeuvre. We always park in the Artscape parking lot and I was pleasantly surprised that since we had pensioners in the car we qualified for the pensioners discount for parking. After dropping the grannies and my mom at the entrance I went to park in my usual spot, alley docking into the bay to make it easier to leave once the show is over – a little trick I’ve learnt, you should try it next time.

But let me get back to the show! The foyer was heaving with people and you could feel the excitement building. It is a tradition of mine to buy the programme to every show I go to, I think it is a great memory of what I have seen in my life, this show was no different. But mind you programmes are pricey and generally cost R50 each, some are better than others so it really is a bit pot luck.

We made our way to our seats which were fantastic slap bang in the middle of the theatre and far enough back so that you could see the entire stage. The theatre was filled almost to capactiy which is great I really love seeing the arts supported. Soon the lights were dimming and the band begun to play the overture (snippets of the music you’ll hear in the first act), now I do have a request for newbie theatre goers or those of you who are unaware of this “rule” when the music begins and the lights are dim this is not your cue to carry on with your conversation, it’s the time to sit back relax and enjoy the performance. Keep the chatter for the interval or the drive home.

The curtains open and a simple yet effective set is unveiled. First up we meet Sophie, played by Carmen Pretorius – you may have seen her High School Musical, she is incredibly talented and has a lovely singing voice. Her friends and confidants are Lisa (Gemma Donnelly) and Ali (Christel Mutombo) who are the first to hear of the dilemma Sophie has.

Sophie’s mom, Donna is played by Gina Shmukler and her two best friends are Tanya (Kate Normington) and Rosie (Ilse Klink) and I’ll tell you a bit more about them in a bit. Sophie’s possible dads are Sam Charmichael (Anrich Herbst), Harry Bright (Neels Clasen) and Bill Austin (Murray Todd). Sophie’s fiancé, Sky, is played by Stephen Jubber who is talented in both music and dance as he has represented South Africa twice at the Hip Hop World Championships.

What you can expect from the show is a toe tapping extravaganza with fantastic singing and choreography. I am still amazed at how all of these ABBA songs have been intertwined with a story to create this musical which is loved throughout the world.

Also you will be laughing throughout the show as there are quirky little nuances that make this production of Mamma Mia uniquely South African. I do think that there will be non stop laughter with Donna’s best friends Tanya and Rosie. Each has a distinct personality which they portray brilliantly. Rosie is a no nonsense and extremely practical while Tanya is most definitely high maintenance, these support Donna in her times of need. Wait until you see the bedroom scene, you’ll know exactly what I mean when I say comic relief and laughing till you think your sides will split.

Think platform boots, lycra one piece suits, glitz and glamour and a ridiculously fun show that I could watch at least once a week for the rest of my life. You’ll leave with a spring in your step, many songs in your heart and a niggling desire for some platforms and a one piece. I need to say a huge congratulations to this ALL South African cast, you certainly exceeded my expectations.

Dates & Bookings:
Just to remind you the show runs in Cape Town until 19 September 2010 and tickets range from R180 to R330 per person. The show then moves to Johannesburg and runs from 1-31 October (with the possibility of extending the run) and tickets are between R170 and R390.

So ladies and gentlemen get your “Money, Money, Money”, be a “Super Trouper” and get your tickets for the show today!

Useful Links:
Things to Do in Cape Town
Cape Town Nightlife & Theatre
Cape Town Accommodation

Tania Stephenson


Tania loves to cook and create magic in the kitchen for family and friends (or even just herself). Be it finding a new recipe or making a tried and tested dish from her recipe folder - the kitchen is her sanctuary. Find her hanging out with friends round the braai or curled up on the couch reading the latest crime drama. With a spring in her step and a song in her heart you’ll find her supporting local artists in theatre, music and dance – from a hip hop competition or the latest musical on stage at Artscape in Cape Town. Enjoying all things culture she likes to share her experiences and delights with those around her.

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