Review by Tatum Stafford
With a roster of beloved ABBA hits and more than two decades of productions under its belt, it’s no secret that Mamma Mia is one of the most popular shows in modern musical theatre canon. This production featuring an array of incredible Perth talent certainly lives up to the hype that surrounds this well-known and well-loved story.
Produced by local team Serasi Entertainment, this production is bursting with colour, frivolity and some incredibly memorable performances. Georgia Unsworth opens the show beautifully as Sophie Sheridan, a 20-year-old who hopes to learn the identity of her father by inviting all three of her potential dads to her wedding. Unsworth is making quite a splash within the Perth musical theatre scene, and this role is a natural fit for her sweet demeanour and clear, lovely vocals. Sophie’s fiancé Sky is played with charm and cheekiness by Matthew Arnold.
The clear standout of this production is the effervescent and captivating Holly Easterbrook as Donna Sheridan. This role seems to have been written for Easterbrook, and from the minute she first entered the stage it was clear we were in for an outstanding performance. Throughout the show she seamlessly weaves her way through touching moments with daughter Sophie and previous lover Sam, to rise to a climax in her powerful rendition of “The Winner Takes It All”. The audience were eating out of her palm the entire performance, and I for one am very excited to see what role she plans to tackle in Perth next.
Other memorable moments came from the dynamic duo of Fifi Mondello and Hayley Parker as Donna’s besties Tanya and Rosie (Rosie’s moments with Alex Circosta’s Bill had the crowd in fits of laughter), Ryan Dawson’s beautiful vocals in “Our Last Summer”, Sam Rabbone’s charming performance as Sam, George O’Doherty’s impressive athleticism and the entire ensemble’s efforts in big dance numbers, with “Voulez Vous” and “Money Money Money” notable highlights. The latter number was my personal favourite, as choreographer Ashanti Suriyam utilised Fosse-esque choreography and some clever formations to create a really cohesive and strong number. Overall, the ensemble were kept very busy and worked effectively as a group to help progress the story and create some really joyful moments within songs we all know and love.
Direction from Chris Dodson helped showcase some beautiful moments from each actor, with the scenes between Easterbrook and her three onstage beaus particularly memorable and poignant. Musical direction from Liam House was solid and showcased the ABBA catalogue with flair and clear enjoyment from the cast singing every song with a huge smile. Remy Benn’s costuming was inspired, and helped evoke the laidback feeling of the island the show takes place on. The show’s set was similarly impressive, and ensemble members were slick and polished in moving set pieces around to create the island world in front of our eyes without any long pauses.
The Act Two opener “Under Attack” was the only number that felt slightly out of place, but I commend the team on getting creative with lighting, choreography and staging to immediately capture our attention and evoke a nightmare Sophie is having. Without giving too much away, some clever choreography with torches that flash on and off create a scene that feels stark and very contrasting to the rest of the lush, blue-toned show.
This is Serasi’s first Perth outing, and if this performance is anything to go by, we’re set to enjoy plenty more epic musicals in the coming months, years and maybe even decades. Buy a ticket if you can – this is a fun night out at the theatre that audience members of all ages will enjoy.