Last night was the Australian premiere of MAMMA MIA! in Melbourne.
Thanks to Helga and the ABBA Fan Club, I was lucky enough to attend the premiere and after party, with old friends David, Manuel, Mark and Terri and new friend Jason (who told me he’s a regular ABBA World blog reader – hi Jason!).
The evening started with the red carpet arrivals and pre-movie champagne in the foyer. We could watch the arrivals on a large screen, though we couldn’t really hear what was being said. Anticipation was high waiting for the arrival of stars Meryl Streep, Colin Firth and Dominic Cooper. We got to see them on the screen, and live from three stories up, before being ushered into the cinema.
Every seat in the cinema had a MAMMA MIA! bag with lots of goodes – chocolates, skin care products, make up, discount vouchers, and a MAMMA MIA! THE MOVIE iPod nano sleeve, in glorious pink!
Once everyone had taken their seats, the three stars were introduced and said a few words from the front on the cinema, then Meryl took her seat in the cinema (five rows behind our group) for the movie, while Colin and Dominic left. The movie got a great reaction from the audience, with spontaneous applause after several songs. Everyone called out “yeah” when, in the “megamix” section at the end of the film, Meryl as Donna asks us if we want another song.
During ‘Waterloo’ streamers and confetti were shot out over the audience, matching what was happening on screen.
When the megamix ended and ‘Thank You For The Music’ started, Meryl left the cinema to a standing ovation, giving a little bow and wave on the way out.
Then we were all bundled on to buses to go to the after party at Alumbra at Docklands. The stars were unfortunately mostly inaccessible. First they were in a separate room upstairs, then hidden away in a roped-off corner with security. Colin Firth was kind enough to be photographed with some eager female fans, while Dominic Cooper appeared on the dance floor momentarily and gave autograph and was photographed with fans – I was lucky enough to get one of each. Meryl Streep was hardly seen until near the end of the party, when she was rushed out by her entourage and didn’t acknowledge people calling out her name for a photo opportunity.
Drag queen and singer Courntey Act performed a medley of ABBA hits including ‘Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)’ and ‘Mamma Mia’, to backing tracks that sounded like Abbacadabra. This was the first ABBA music of the night, which then led to half of dozen of so real ABBA songs before returning to standard 70s disco music. A few more ABBA songs were played later on, each one filling the dance floor immediately.
There were a few local celebrities in the crowd. Mark Holden (former pop singer and Australian Idol judge), Tim Ferguson (of the Doug Anthony Allstars), Tim Campbell (Million Dollar Wheel host), Hamish and Andy (of radio and TV), apparently other stars of TV that I didn’t recognise. Rhonda Birchmore, Lara Mulcahy and Joylon James who played Tanya, Rosie and Sky in the Australian stage production were also there.
(Mark Holden has a previous ABBA connection: his 1976 hit ‘I Wanna Make You My Lady’ was an English cover of a Ted Gäredestad song. Ted was a Polar recording artist whose early albums were produced by Benny and Björn).
MAMMA MIA! opens in cinemas across Australia (and New Zealand, Norway and the UK) today.