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The Civic asks audience to take a chance on ABBA musical


Steve Penhollow

Whatzup Features Writer

Published May 2, 2019

Heads Up! This article is 3 years old.

To love a jukebox musical, you have to love what’s on that particular jukebox. In the case of Mamma Mia, currently being presented at the Civic Theatre, the jukebox is playing the hits of the Swedish pop group ABBA.

Judging from the enthusiastic response to the show by the opening night audience, no one in attendance was on the fence about those hits.

The plot of Mamma Mia is a trifle: A bride-to-be invites three men who may be her father to her wedding on a Greek island where her mother runs a hotel. She hopes the truth will be revealed before the nuptials.

The fibs, misunderstandings, and revelations that this scenario entails give the characters excuses to perform ABBA hits that sound like they were written for the show instead of having provided the catalyst for the show.

The Civic cast is excellent. Capri Parrish Williams is winsome and relatable as Sophie Sheridan, the bride with three dads. And those three dads — played by Jim Matusik, Matt Faley, and A.J. Lorenzini — form a potent trio of entertainingly disparate personalities.

The most potent trio in the show, however, is comprised of Sophie’s mom (Aimee Lackey) and her two best friends (Pam Good and Susannah Chadwell). Good and Chadwell, especially, share a chemistry that is reminiscent of Edina and Patsy on Absolutely Fabulous.

The show is capably directed and choreographed by the team of Phillip Colglazier and Leslie Beauchamp and the set by Adam Fletcher is evocative and ingenuous.

Mamma Mia isn’t really an audience-participation musical, but the crowd on opening night treated it as if it were. The curtain call actually features encores of the sort one expects to see at a rock concert. The cast repeatedly returned to perform songs while the audience danced in the aisles.

Even if Mamma Mia doesn’t seem like your cup of brännvin, it’s hard to argue with a show that arouses audiences to such extremes of enthusiasm.

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