Donna (Stephanie Roth) seems a little annoyed by the antics of Tonya (Erin Ormond) and Rosie (Jenni Burke) in the Chemainus Theatre’s production of Mamma Mia! (Photo by Don Bodger)

The mother of all musicals leaves audience members wanting more

Mamma Mia! checks all the boxes as one of the Chemainus Theatre’s all-time best shows

My, oh, Mamma Mia!

The Chemainus Theatre Festival’s production of Mamma Mia! checks all the boxes of a mega hit.

Sensational singing. Check.

Memorable music. Check.

Captivating choreography. Check.

Creative costumes. Check.

Amazing acting. Check.

Essential emotion. Check.

Superb set. Check.

The list goes on.

That’s two productions this year already that easily rank among the theatre’s top five best of all time. First, there was The Sound of Music Feb. 15-April 6 and now Mamma Mia! that’s just hit the stage to begin a long run until Aug. 31. Mamma Mia! will become the theatre’s best-selling show ever and the top seller on all of Vancouver Island once it’s done.

Mamma Mia! also has to be considered the No. 1, depending on personal taste, or at the very least No. 2 best performance ever at the theatre for all-around audience satisfaction. It’s the complete package.

“I loved it,” was a familiar refrain heard by people as they left the theatre on opening night.

There was something in this performance to appeal to all tastes. It’s a musical and brought back abundant memories for those who grew up when ABBA was rocketing to stardom or were born later and learned all about the Swedish super group and grew to love all its songs, but also a very well-presented dramatic comedy in between.

All those ABBA tunes are bound to run through your mind well after leaving the theatre – the title track, of course, and so many other hits such as Dancing Queen (the group’s only No. 1 song on the Billboard charts), Take a Chance On Me that featured a very funny sequence of events, Knowing Me, Knowing You and so many more.

This is one of those shows where you never looked at your watch and the time seemed to pass so quickly. In fact, no one wanted it to end judging by the huge rollicking dance concert that broke out at the end as a long encore.

There was just so much to like about this production, it’s hard to know where to start. The dialogue featured many creative lines, the ABBA songs were interspersed perfectly into the scenes and the characters were all so likeable you felt like you became fast friends with them just from viewing them on stage.

Sophie (Alex Gullason) invites three men to her wedding who all spent time with her mother Donna (Stephanie Roth) around the time she would have been conceived and the fun begins. Sophie wants desperately to find out which of the three is actually her father. In the end, it didn’t really matter. She finds herself and that’s more important.

“Buildings are my baby, you can tell which ones are yours,” gushed architect Sam (Jonathan Winsby), one of the possible fathers, in an ironic statement when he arrives at the site of the wedding (not knowing he’s going to a wedding) on a Mediterranean island where Donna who owns a small inn and once spent time with all three of the potential father figures there.

Gullason, Roth, Jenni Burke, Erin Ormond, Winsby, Kieran Martin Murphy and Graham Coffeng are all tremendous in their lead roles. The entire supporting cast also takes the show to another level with exceptional singing, dancing and acting.

Watch for one scene with the guys prancing around wearing flippers along the beach. Incredible.

The talent here defies description. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll sing along and be entertained beyond belief.

The performance moved seamlessly from one scene to another, with all the acting crew helping to move props around so quickly you hardly have time to catch your breath.

Huge kudos to director Barbara Tomasic, music director Meredith Zwicker, choreographer Nicol Spinola, set/costume designer Drew Facey, lighting designer Craig Alfredson, stage manager Angela Beaulieu, assistant stage manager Liz King, apprentice stage manager Becca Jorgensen, the music ensemble and the entire creative team leading right back to artistic director Mark DuMez for this incredible piece of work.

The only drawback was the music level overtaking the singers’ voice projections on their microphones on a couple of songs on opening night, but we’re sure they have that corrected by now. Otherwise, flawless.

One other mammoth production remains on the schedule before the end of an incredible year for the theatre at Christmastime with Miracle On 34th Street Nov. 15-Dec. 29.

What on earth can theatre personnel do for an encore in 2020? We’re sure they’ll have something big up their sleeves.

Just Posted

Climate strike draws huge crowd in Duncan

Millions strike for climate worldwide

‘Youthful exuberance’ or ‘grievous deed’: opinion is divided on Trudeau’s ‘brown face’ costume

Local Liberal candidate asks voters to concentrate on Prime Minister’s political record

North Cowichan to consider contracts for new RCMP building

Looks to contractors working on similar construction in Fort St. John

Update – Downtown Chemainus streets reopened after Thursday gas leak

FortisBC crews complete repairs along section of Cypress Street

Source of gas leak being investigated

Portion of downtown Chemainus blocked off around the new library

PHOTOS: Young protesters in B.C. and beyond demand climate change action

Many demonstaers were kids and teens who skipped school to take part

Walmart to quit selling e-cigarettes amid vaping backlash

U.S.’s largest retailer points to ‘growing’ complications in federal, state and local regulations

Former B.C. lifeguard gets house arrest for possession of child porn

Cees Vanderniet of Grand Forks will serve six months of house arrest, then two years’ probation

Crown alleges resentment of ex-wife drove Oak Bay father to kill his daughters

Patrick Weir alleged in his closing arguments that Andrew Berry is responsible for the deaths of his daughters

‘I’d do it again,’ says B.C. man who swam naked, drunk in Toronto shark tank

David Weaver, of Nelson, was drunk when he went to Ripley’s Aquarium in Toronto on Oct. 12 2018

How to react to Trudeau’s racist photos? With humility, B.C. prof says

‘We are now treating racism as a crime that you cannot recover from’

Victoria man spots online photo of his totem pole 11 years after it was stolen

Mark Trueman restored the pole himself before it was stolen off of his property in Duncan

VIDEO: Fire destroys Williams Lake strip club targeted by past arson attempts

Diamonds and Dust Entertainment Lounge destroyed by fire, as well as New World Tea and Coffee House

Trudeau seeks meeting with Singh to apologize for blackface, brownface photos

‘I will be apologizing to him personally as a racialized Canadian,’ Trudeau said Friday

Most Read