A few weeks ago while visiting Stockholm, my partner and I attended Mamma Mia! The Party.
We both went in with low expectations. I’m not a fan of the musical, though I find the movie enjoyable, thanks mostly to the high calibre of the actors. My partner isn’t an ABBA fan at all, but tolerates it.
We were both happily surprised at how much we enjoyed the night. It was exceptionally well produced. The cast were part of the restaurant staff, and the wait staff at times were part of the show.
The premise of the show is that after the movie crew left the Greek island of Skopelos, Nikos, a local tavern owner decided to capitalise on the tourist influx by hosting a Mamma Mia! themed party at his taverna. He has married Swedish woman Kicki, who worked on the movie. Meanwhile Nikos’ daughter Konstantina has fallen in love with Kicki’s son Adam. Much drama and singing ensue, but of course there’s a happy ending and love prevails.
The action is not centred on a stage, but fully immersive, with the actors and musicians performing all over the room, including a couple of songs when the band was up on a landing overlooking the main room, right next to our table.
The party features 23 ABBA songs, including songs and album tracks not featured in the musical and movie, plus of course several hits that are in the musical (see below for the full list). What surprised me was that many lyrics, particularly in the first act, have been extensively rewritten for the story.
The show ends with a megamedley of eleven ABBA hits to get the audience up and dancing.
Before the first act the starter and entree courses are served, with the main meal served between the first and second acts. Dessert is served after the second act and before the finale. The food is a Greek banquet, shared with all the guests at each table. All the food was excellent quality, and there is plenty for everyone. Beer, wine, and ouzo help get everyone in the mood for a fun night.
The atmosphere of the venue enhances the mood. The set looks just like a beachside Greek taverna, with lighting and other effects cycling from afternoon sun through sunset and into the night.
One thing I think is strange is that the show is performed in Swedish, with the songs in English. During August the show was performed entirely in English. I feel this would limit the tourist market. There’s no reason why it couldn’t be performed in English once or twice a week for non-Swedish visitors.
Still, despite the language barrier, we could follow what was going on. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and if you’re in Stockholm you should spend a night in Nikos’ taverna. (more…)