Mamma Mia!

Niamh Perry and cast in MAMMA MIA
Niamh Perry and cast in MAMMA MIA
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Opera House, Blackpool

Blackpool is banking, quite literally, on this show to revive its summer season fortunes.

The 12-week run is as much to prove resort theatre-goers still have an appetite for summertime entertainment, and tempt more such productions to follow suit.

So enter Mamma Mia!, stage centre, the show whose prodigious reputation precedes it worldwide.

This international tour is fresh from a five-month engagement in South Korea, and if you were looking for a show to break down barriers in North Korea, besides box office records in Blackpool, then look no further.

It is as polished a performance of the smash-hit musical as you’ll find anywhere. A production fiercely loyal to Judy Craymer’s brainwave vision of blending Abba’s songbook into a musical theatre narrative delivered by Catherine Johnson’s book.

It’s still a jukebox musical when all is said and done, but one that elevates the oft-disparaged artform into a definitive template for such musical theatre entertainment.

Some of the subtlety of the original has fallen out somewhere in the world, so audiences now have the story’s innuendo thrust in their face, rather than suggested.

Even that cannot detract from a production where showstopping numbers come as standard.

It runs until September 14.

David Upton