The St James Theatre was pumping with the music of 1970s Swedish pop group Abba when Gore Musical Theatre presented its VIP opening night performance of Mamma Mia! on Thursday.
The packed theatre was treated to the full range of Abba songs, along with some very polished acting, dancing and singing.
The set, complete with plants, provided the perfect backdrop to the story set on a Greek Island.
Kayla Wilcox’s beautiful voice brought her part of Sophie Sheridan to life.
Fran Brabant’s performance as Donna was strong and her acting ability and experience shone throughout the show.
The three fathers, Bradley Gentle, TJ Smith and Craig Wadsworth, were funny and also displayed depth in their singing and acting.
Wadsworth also brought a comic side to his performance, which is always good to see as multi-dimensional acting gives a show depth.
Emily Mason exuded personality and had a great stage presence. Her larger-than-life portrayal of Tanya filled the whole stage.
There were some memorable cameo performances, notably Marty Grounds as the priest. He did not have to say a word yet he had the audience in fits. He is just plain funny; his mannerisms say it all.
Likewise, Fona Ramage and Raewyn Ramage only had small parts but they were certainly memorable and had the audience laughing.
Vin McIvor, as Eddie, showed his dancing skills which were faultless, effortless and just so entertaining.
Nicole Parry showcased her amazing timing, energy, enthusiasm and talent when executing her dance routines.
Parry and McIvor were standouts in my book.
The popular songs were a hit with the near-capacity audience.
My favourite songs were Money, Money, Money, Thank You for the Music, Super Trouper, Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, and Mamma Mia!.
Director Monica Moore should be congratulated for having the cast well and truly stage-ready.
It was obvious they knew their lines well and had polished their on-stage personas.
Mamma Mia! continues until Saturday.