Mamma Mia!
Review By: Gringo

In a fresh quest to turn this site's music section into a homosexual musical theater love fest, I am writing my second of two recent reviews of a stage musical. You want the first one? Yes you do! Go click on this link to read all about Hairspray, then get right back you, you attention deficit disorder suffering little prick.

I find it hard to believe that you will never have heard of the musical Mamma Mia! though you may well have no idea what it's about, so I'll let you be a stupid face on that score. This of course is the musical that is made up of ABBA songs.

As we all know, ABBA created catchy tune after catchy tune which, when factored into the world of alcohol, makes it impossible for grown men and women to resist getting up and dancing to. I say dancing, but in my case, it's mostly just staggering round the dance floor before falling over, hitting my head and passing out.

Just another Saturday night at Hobag Hall

This show has been running for several years, but because I'm such a nice guy I'll give a quick rundown of the plot. Some annoying girl lives on a Greek island with her potentially lesbian mother. The girl, Sophie, doesn't know who her real father is. Aha! So the mother's a lesbian hooker! The girl does have one clue: her mother's diary, which recounts a roll in the hay with three men who could potentially be the girl's father. Got it? Good.

Sophie is getting married to a stereotypical surfer jock type, who I will creatively called Surfer Jock. She invites all three men to her wedding, pretending the invitation came from her mother (who hasn't spoken to any of the men since they left the island however many years ago). They soon arrive, and cue the dance and the music and the noise and the clapping and the cheering and the curtains with the ups and the downs and so on and so forth.

It's pretty hard to criticize the soundtrack to this musical simply because I am a big fan of the cheese that is ABBA's catalog of music. There are no original songs in this show, and it prompts some rather snicker-worthy dialog in order to launch into some of the tunes.

Example #1!
Sophie and Surfer Jock are discussing their marriage in that annoying way soon-to-be-weds constantly go on and and on and on about their impending day with destiny. Hey, here's a heads-up, Mr. and Mrs. Almost Newlyweds; no-one cares! The subject of love comes up, and then Surfer Jock breaks into an amended version of Lay All Your Love On Me, with the opening line "I wasn't jealous before we met, now every man that I see is a potential threat". Quite.

Example #2!
Sophie's mother owns a taverna on the Greek island, and she makes it very clear from the start that the place isn't very profitable. She sits around moaning about her life, and the fact she works all night and works all day to pay the bills she has to pay, but still there never seems to be a single penny left for her. Cue the mother and the islanders breaking into their version of Money, Money, Money. This kind of heavy-handed transition makes you chuckle at first, but two or three songs in, you find you no longer care, because your brain has been washed over with ABBA.

Example #3!
Stop asking for examples, Greedy McFat! You get what you are given! AND NO MORE!

But snicker-worthy dialog is probably to be expected of a musical based on ABBA songs, especially because the logic behind this show was probably "Aha! Them ABBA tunes sure is a popular! Let's stick shallow lines of speech between a bunch of them tunes! Money, here we come!".

In addition, don't go into the theater expecting fine characterization and character arcs that develop throughout the performance. This is musical theater, so you get characters painted with broad stereotypes and emotions that change between songs. For example (lots of examples in this review, huh?) two ex-lovers lament love lost in one song, before less than 15 minutes later deciding to get married. If only people were that easy in real life.

This picture doesn't even need a caption for hilarity to ensue

However, despite my best attempts to be a cynical prick about this musical -- believe me, I tried, I even pushed an old lady off the balcony in an attempt to sour the evening -- I can't really write that many bad words about Mamma Mia! It's a fun way to spend a night (better than abusing myself...okay, only just better) and as long as you like the music of ABBA, you'll have a good time at this show. If you don't like ABBA music, then you're already dead inside.

All I have left to say about Mamma Mia! is thank you for the music!

Okay, that was a far too upbeat and obvious conclusion. Use this instead:


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