Last Thursday night, the Sands Theatre at Marina Bay Sands came alive with the grand premiere of the hit musical, Mamma Mia!, bringing back some retro music vibes. This acclaimed musical, written by British playwright Catherine Johnson, seamlessly combines the iconic melodies of Swedish sensation ABBA with a heartwarming narrative that takes place on a picturesque Greek island.
I caught the premiere with my son, Asher. This was the first time he was watching this musical, whereas it was the third time for me. I am quite an ABBA fan and as such, Asher is familiar with some of their greatest hits featured in the musical, having heard them frequently in our car audio playlist. It was an interesting experience for him to witness them strung into a cohesive narrative and enjoyed in a story format.
A Singaporean Favourite
Mamma Mia! has a special place in the hearts of Singaporean theatergoers. Having been presented in Singapore in 2014 and 2018, the musical remains a beloved favourite.
The musical blends ABBA’s timeless songs with a sunny and funny tale of a mother, a daughter, and three potential fathers set on a Greek island idyll. The musical originally premiered in Dublin in 2004 and has since visited 41 countries, with over 3,500 shows and more than 7 million people having experienced its magic.
Notably, in 2011, Mamma Mia! became the first Western musical ever to be staged in Mandarin in China, achieving the status of the 8th longest-running show in Broadway history. Its success also extended to the silver screen with the release of Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in July 2018, becoming the most successful live musical movie sequel of all time.
Timeless Hits, Heatwarming Fun
The show opened with a curtain rising in shades of Santorini blue, setting the stage for an evening of unforgettable entertainment. Despite a modest set, the production captured the essence of Greece, transporting the audience into a dreamy Mediterranean fantasy world of romance and eternal holidays.
The musical featured a slew of ABBA’s earworms, including the timeless classic, Dancing Queen, which had patrons of all ages swaying to its irresistible melody. Sing-along opportunities were abundant, ensuring a fully immersive experience. The audience around me were in full swing, swaying and singing along throughout the musical. While Mamma Mia! follows a formulaic happily-ever-after story, it is artfully infused with humour and a dollop of suggestive cheekiness, adding more depth and fun.
Amidst the glitz and glamour, pockets of vulnerability shone through as the musical thoughtfully explored the complexities of love and the value of embracing one’s flaws. It also discreetly wove in themes of love transcending age and LGBTQ+ representation. This latest edition also had a more diverse cast, mixing in talents of different ethnicities, shapes and sizes.
In a world often dominated by practicality, Mamma Mia! serves as a sparkling reminder of the unbridled joy found in spontaneity and love. Beyond just a theatrical performance; the musical is also a jubilant, shimmering invitation to cast aside your worries and believe that everything will be okay. Perfect for those going through a rough patch in life and needs some cheering up.
The musical will run from October 19 to November 5, 2023, at the Sands Theatre in Marina Bay Sands, with the performance schedule below:
Tuesdays to Thursdays: 8 pm
Fridays: 8 pm
Saturdays: 2 pm and 8 pm
Sundays: 1 pm and 6:30 pm