IT WAS a sub-zero night in February, yet somehow I’d found myself dancing on the island of Skopelos in Greece, where the ‘Mamma Mia!’ movie was filmed.
Alright, alright, the Greek isle was, in fact, the 02 Stadium in Greenwich, London – but for four glorious hours, I could have sworn I was partying in a taverna along the coast of the Ionian Sea.
I was here for Mamma Mia! The Party, an all-singing, all-dancing show created by ABBA’s Björn Ulvaeus.
If you’ve somehow missed the Abba Mania nostalgia wave that has swept the capital over the last six or so years, there are now no less than three blockbuster shows on offer to fans, including Abba Voyage.
But this is the most immersive of the bunch, with the show taking place around you, as you dine in a giant-sized replica of a quaint taverna.
The heating’s cranked up, so you can wear your finest summer clothes (or sequinned catsuits), as super cheerful waiters serve you Greek-style food including feta salad, mezze, grilled lamb and vegetables and orange cake.
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Plus, the drinks are reasonably priced (for an 02 dinner theatre venue).
Meanwhile, a storyline line is playing out in front of you… behind you… beside you… and above you.
The setting is Nikos’s taverna, where the restauranteur and his English wife Kate are at odds over the relationship of her British nephew, Adam and his Greek daughter from a previous marriage.
While we dined on our three-course meal, we watched as the lovers’ relationship played out in front of her disapproving family, with even the most tenuous of references used to shoehorn in a multitude of Abba hits.
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Everything from Take A Chance On Me, to Money Money Money and Waterloo were belted out by the fantastic cast, bolstered by the voices of hundreds of enthusiastic punters.
But my favourite had to be S.O.S, when the entire room twirled their napkins above their heads.
Yes, the storyline is weak, but it really doesn’t matter because the whole spectacle is all-consumingly joyful.
For those fuelled by sangria or just general feel-good energy, there is also a disco at the end of the show, where the most extroverted members of the crowd can show off their Abba moves and costumes on the makeshift stage in the centre of the room.
Everything seems eye-wateringly expensive these days and Mamma Mia! The Party is no exception. But it’s worth the money for a great and unique night out.
Tickets range from £99 to £200 in price, depending on whether you’re sitting in one of the balcony tables or right in the action in the middle of the room next to the house band and ‘town square’ fountain, where 60% of the scenes and songs take place.
Pretty much every seat is a good seat in the purpose-built venue though, as all of the tables are ‘front row’.
Better still, the food is included and we smiled, sang, clapped and danced our way through the entire show, leaving with as much of a serotonin boost as if we really had been on holiday.
The show is extending its run to September 3, with tickets on sale now from £99pp at mammamiatheparty.co.uk.
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