Over my summer break last year, I was able to see Mamma Mia at London’s West End. It was an amazing and spectacular show, full of life and energy. Of course, it helped that I was already familiar with the songs of Abba, but even if one isn’t familiar with the songs, the play was a lot of fun.
So it was with as much excitement that I happened to catch Mamma Mia being performed at Al Hamra Cultural center by the Lums Drama Society.
Before I get into my review, here are some key things to keep in mind:
- Please please please don’t compare this drama to the movie version or the theater version performed on Broadway and West End. It will be very unfair to make any comparison.
- The passes were free. The Lums Drama didn’t charge a penny for any of the tickets- so don’t be alarmed at the minimal stage set.
- The students need to be appreciated. Everyone, from the cast and crew, did an amazing job of bringing a difficult show to an entertainment-starved city of Lahore.
- Finally, between each song, there is a couple of minutes break, where we were requested to stay put. This is when the sets are being changed. So don’t complain or crib. 🙂
The story of Mamma Mia is fairly easy to follow. Sophie, a 20-year-old, is getting married to her boyfriend Skye. Sophie’s mother, Donna Sheridan, had met three different men 20 years ago and had Sophie. But Donna doesn’t know who the father of the child is. So Sophie invites all three potential fathers to the wedding to the Greek Island where Donna runs the hotel. Donna has awkward encounters with the three men 20 years later, and at the same time, Sophie’s tensions rise in trying to find out who the real father is.
The songs were awesome to listen. It was even more awesome because the actors were singing live– nothing was playback. I really appreciated this but having said that, not all the actors had singing voices, so the necessary impact wasn’t made. Thankfully, the girl who played Donna was perfectly cast. All the cool songs such as Mamma Mia, Dancing Queen, SOS, Voulez Vouz, Thank You for the Music were present.
Thankfully, the role of Donna was perfectly cast. I don’t know the name of the actress, but she captured everything very well, from body language to mannerisms to singing. Her two friends, Tanya and Rosie also bought the house down with their comedic timing. These three women were definitely the highlight of the show.
Sophie and Skye were on the weaker footing. Their singing voices weren’t strong and I had to struggle to catch what they were singing.
The three fathers- Harry, Bill, and Sam- were played very well by all the actors. However, it was Harry, who performed the strongest. Bill was played by a first-time performer and it showed, and the actor who played Sam was just about all right. Perhaps, his role wasn’t as fleshed out as much as Harry’s.
I was surrounded by all sorts of people around me. They all thoroughly enjoyed the show, despite the fact it was set in Greece with foreign characters. But there was enough material in there to connect with the audience. I enjoyed the running commentary from the guys behind me who were repeating everything happening on stage to each other in Urdu.
Sunday, 21st April is the last day. If you can, please go ahead and watch the show. We don’t get many English shows in Lahore so this a great opportunity to do so.
Note: My One Complaint
The pass said gates close at 6pm. I got there at 530pm because they said online that to avoid disappointment, come early. I was allowed inside the hall at 7pm and the show started at 745pm. To start the show at 745pm instead of 7pm was uncalled for. I guess that’s Lahore!