Written and photographed
By Jude Thaddeus L. Bautista
As much as the critics would like to think they know the world of stage, the people who know the most about Mamma Mia are those who are in it day in and day out. They have the best insights because they’ve had to study the music, lyrics and story almost on a daily basis. These are the comments from the stars themselves.
During the presscon, apart from the insights, the understated British humor was also very much in display. Mamma Mia! is presented by Infinity powered by SMART and Citibank and is brought to you by Lunchbox Theatrical Productions, David Atkins Enterprises, Hi Definition Radio and Concertus Manila.
Richard Standing plays Sam Carmichael and is the real life husband of Sarah Poyzer who plays the lead role of Donna Sheridan. For him there’s a whole range of emotions that one goes through watching it, “Songs are there they should feel free to sing along to. Musicals aren’t particularly my thing. I went to see it I found myself laughing. I suddenly found myself crying. Then I found myself jumping up and down. I think they might be surprised how much they do it. I was.”
Lunchbox CEO James Cundall was able to compare this production to others he has seen, “There are a lot of Mamma Mia productions around the world. And this one we’ve been lucky enough to entice here. I’ve seen this show than more countries that I can remember. This company is really interesting. It’s a much fresher show than I’ve seen on Broadway or West End. Between their play they’ve had twelve weeks and from Zurich they had a week off. And they’ve always been to interesting places.
Another plus for Filipinos according to Cundall is being able to see a world class show without having to go out of the country, “And the international performance here is a much much higher quality because the cast and the experience of coming to brand new cultures. The Filipinos will see a much better show than if they got on PAL or Etihad and went to London or New York. That’s what makes me excited.”
Richard also joked about the expected female audiences going for the musical, “We can’t possibly know why that can’t be. I have a lot of respect for women. They know a good show that’s why the come out and watch the show. There are a lot of young guys who are very fit. It’s NOT them. It’s the experience! They realize it’s a story about women! She has a daughter in love there are best friends.”
For Kate Graham who plays Tanya, female audiences can relate to the characters, “It’s about strong women as well. I think women like it because there are strong female characters in it. And they’re all different. So everybody can see themselves in Tanya or a bit of themselves in Rosie and of course a bit of themselves in Donna who is a great, great character.”
Richard Standing believes the themes that are in it are universal, “Essentially it’s about love. It works in every different culture. If you’re a parent it’s about parenthood. If you’re younger it’s a young love story. And it’s an old love story if you’re older. It’s about friendship it covers so many bases that speaks to all of us.”
Graham thinks it’s more a matter of redemption that people appreciate, “It’s about people making mistakes and being forgiven for them. And human frailty which I think is nice to watch people get on which turns out to be the greatest thing they’ve ever done in their lives.”
James Cundall adds that the mesh of the music and story is perfect, “It also uses the best-made songs internationally that you’ve ever heard. It puts them in a context that you wouldn’t have put them before. Which makes it fresh and gives you a story. You sort of know the story that goes along. There’s element s of course, of course yes! You’re almost egging it along because these songs come out. I love this song. I’ve got it. It means something it’s not just a pop song. You make the song exciting it gives them energy. I’ve no energy at all (press laughs)”
Richard says that the enjoyment that they feel performing is important, “The great thing about the show is we have so much fun doing it and it flows to the crowd. It’s just great fun to do that’s why we do it eight times a week in every country. People feed off that.”
Kate believes it’s the team work that element that makes them unique, “It’s because we know each other so well. It’s like we’re an enormous family. It’s cliché that we spend 24/7 with each other. We fight we have a laugh. We party, we have a great time together. And we all know each other really well. THAT helps make this show more special.”
Special thanks to Mamma Mia! major sponsors San Miguel Premium All Malt Beer, KLM Royal Dutch Airlines, Ayala Malls, Ayala Cinemas, Cebu Pacific Air, Dusit Thani Manila and OOCL. Media partners include Radio High 105.9 FM, Monster Radio RX 93.1, Crossover 105.1 FM, YES FM 101.1, 90.7 Love Radio, 96.3 Easy Rock, 2nd Avenue, ETC, Jack TV, Rustans, Philippine Star, Business World, Manila Bulletin, Philippine Daily Inquirer, ABS CBN, MCA Music and clickthecity.com