I know what you’re thinking. I’m months too late. Yes, that may be true, but I have an excuse. I watched the last show of the Manila run. Aside from that, the only reason I’m publishing a blog post about it is so that I can come back to this writing and re-live the musical again. Yes, it was that good.
I miss watching musicals! I don’t think I was able to catch one last year. The last I watched I think was CATS in CCP. I am glad Mamma Mia extended for a week because I could hardly get a decent seat for a Sunday night show for weeks. I am glad I ended up watching the closing of the show. I bet those baby boomers had the time of their lives, and amazingly, so did I.
Just to clarify, I am not a baby boomer! Haha. The play was composed of great voices, engaging dance moves and funny lines thrown from time to time. I was able to watch the movie starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried. I was thrilled because I loved the singing, acting and the setting (Greece! Who wouldn’t?). It does not have a deep plot but it was executed well in the musical.
It was a story of a girl, Sophie, who grew up without a father about to get married. Naturally, she was on search of who her real father was only that even her own mother did not know who he was. She tracked down three men whose names were found in her Mom’s diary. The setting was in Santorini, Greece, where Sophie and her mom, Donna stayed and called it home.
As soon as the lights went out, I felt the hair on my nape stand, even more so after, when someone was singing. Let me run down a couple of things I liked (and did not like so much) in the musical for you (and me).
What I loved…
- The people’s excitement. As I watched during the last show of the Manila run, the people could not contain themselves in one place while waiting for the show to start. Although cameras were deposited before entering CCP, a lot of people were having their photos taken by the Mamma Mia banner using their mobile phones. Others were busy purchasing souvenir CDs, shirts, programs and other trinkets.
- Money, money, money number. Aside from the stunning voice of Sara Poyzer, who played the role of Donna, Sophie’s mother, that dance number was great to watch as the cast was amazingly in-sync.
- Rosie and Tanya’s characters. Kudos to Jennie Dale (Rosie) and Kate Graham (Tanya) who played the roles of Donna’s best friends. Both were the life of the play. As comedic lines were interjected all throughout the musical, they were the ones who delivered most of them and who did so effectively. They were hilarious, not to mention their amazing vocal chords too.
- Charlotte Wakefield, who played Sophie. Those pipes were just incredible. Not one note out of tune. Her voice was so clear and melodious. Even when she was singing high notes, there was not a hint of showing struggle or any form of effort from her end. It was as normal as speaking. Truly great to watch and hear.
- The three songs performed after the curtain call. Imagine a concert hall transformed to a big dancing stage. Everyone was on their foot grooving to the 70s music. Although everyone participated, I imagined a more enthusiastic bunch had I watched with Western audience. But it was really fun.
- The heartfelt number of Winner Takes It All. The segue from saying a line to singing a song became very enjoyable for me. I thought at first, Sara Poyzer was singing the number all too softly but I realized it made the song more heartfelt when she went from mild to giving more emphasis on the lines towards the end. That was an awesome moment and an impressive display of Sara’s singing prowess.
- The transformation of the scenes from bedroom to plaza to an outside patio were believable despite the humble revolving backdrop. Suffice to say it was creatively utilized.
What I didn’t like so much
- The costumes were sparkling and shining, probably full of glitters and sequins but I was not too crazy about the wedding dress of Sophie and most of her outfits, really.
- The venue. It felt like CCP was not exactly built for this purpose except to accommodate more people than anywhere else. Also, it is very old and rundown evident from the faded carpets and non functional bathroom cubicle doors.
- My seats. That was not anyone’s fault, really. But I’m telling you, if you have fear of heights, seating in the balcony area might give you a vertigo. I hope not to do that again.
Overall, Mamma Mia is the best musical I watched in Manila, especially because of the cast’s powerful pitch-perfect voices. They were a delight to watch and hear. Here’s to hoping more musical gets staged in Manila. I’d like to be amazed by The Phantom of the Opera (according to the banner in Ticketworld’s website, showing on August 25)and Wicked (West End, one day I’ll go back). Can’t wait until my next musical! Thanks to my Mom who has always been a default companion to all these musical craziness.