Mamma Mia – Pulteney Grammar School

Mamma Mia – Pulteney Grammar School

From the very beginning, the Greek Island stage set up and cabaret tables instead of the front 8 rows To the very end, the reprise of the best songs, Pulteney Grammar School’s production of Mamma Mia made everyone forget everything else and feel SO happy!

It was very professionally produced. The choreography was fantastic. The costumes were amazing, and the enthusiasm of not only the cast but also the crew and helpers all came together in a fun, fantastic performance.

The stage was set up on three sides. In the middle was the house on levels and stairs. On the left hand side was the postbox on the jetty. And on the other side was the other part of the jetty. So the audience was actually in the water! Although Opening Night performance started a bit late, it got off to a great start with an “in-flight entertainment announcement” which was very clever.

Ella Wood as Donna was the standout performer with her beautiful voice, her confident stage presence, movement and dancing. And she and Oscar Bridges as Sam were, I thought, the two outstanding members in the cast. Also Taylor Schwartz’s Sophie was very good as the main character being on the stage for most of the show.

Addi Schwartz as hippie Rosie was also well performed. Madi Schubert as Tanya pulled off her numbers very cheekily. As the potential Dads, Harry Oates as Bill and Finn Boylan as Harry added lots of fun in their portrayals. Some of the characters were a bit shy in the first half but in the second Act they came into their own. Look out for the dancers in swimming fins for a lot of fun and cleverness.

To often have the full cast of 50 or so people on that stage all at once was just a phenomenal thing – all dancing together or separately or acting or gesticulating and everyone in synch and having a good time.

The Production Team headed by Joe Casson, Director with Charlaina Thompson, Production Manager and a team too large to name, created the most beautiful experience of Mamma Mia.

Musical Director Jonathan Rice and the orchestra, which was made up of students and professionals, set the scene for the show, accompanied the songs and complemented the action harmoniously.

The choreography by Zoe Komazec, Rosanna Dobre and Joe Casson was outstanding. And the teenagers all enjoyed singing and dancing. They must have rehearsed really well as the synchronisation was excellent. As an extra curricular school activity, to fit in that time to practice was just amazing.

The costumes created by Jessica Greco, Anna Williamson and Joe Casson were fantastic. I’m sure a lot of time and effort went into designing and sewing them. The many props were ably provided by Robin Wang, Charlie Thompson, Eliose Clarke and Helena Jacobson.

As already described, Jo Casson set design and Nick Challan’s construction was pretty amazing – especially the little pop out windows and doors.

I also have to commend the Multimedia Design by Richard Austin and audio visual effects by MOSAIC and their teams. Behind the set at the back of the set was a huge screen, with multi layers of images with suns and moons and lights and buildings and at the end, we even saw the orchestra! Mark Oakley’s excellent lighting design and operation was very clever too. With plenty of fairy lights, party lights, spotlights, highlighting all the important songs, dances and principals.

There was quite a bit of local humour in the show as well, which made the audience laugh often. The audience reaction was fantastic. They clapped after every song and often joined in singing.

The only issue that I found, especially in the first Act, was some of the voices were too soft to hear when they were speaking or singing.  The duets with Donna and Sam are beautifully done.

There are lots of Greek (and local) references – the 3 muses – Donna, Rosie and Tanya, and Sophie and her 2 girl friends; trusting in Fate; Victor Harbor and Bank SA!

So if you can see it tonight – go along. Opening Night was and Saturday night is booked out already. Just escape to Abba’s songs and dot, dot, dot!!

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