I’ve had a change of heart. About Mamma Mia the movie that is. It was on the TV last year and I found it toe curlingly awful, I made the youngest who was enthralled, turn over to another channel. Clever young thing that she is, she recorded the rest and today finally remembered she had done so. I was suprised to discover the second half has some integrity! Very kindly, a friend treated me to comps for the show back in (muffles mouth with hands – spits out 2002/03).http://www.mamma-mia.com/london.asp It had rave reviews but it wasn’t for me, although I avoided saying so publicly after such a lovely thought and great seats. It felt wrong somehow – I couldn’t quite get how but I think the film nails it.
The story behind Mamma Mia! the Movie…well lets face it, its a concept, a brand really – doesnt belong to musical theatre pro’s it belongs to the common man and woman ergo actors who can dance a bit, put a song across without turning a crisis into a drama… which is why Pierce Brosnans characterisation worked so well for me – he was lambasted across a roasting spit for taking it on but he was so right! It’s a horribly romantic piece but what gives the audience hope is that the likes of Mr B. and Julie Walters make it real, tangible – it could be me, you, the next door neighbour and all those dour Greeks breaking out into joyful song and dance, jumping off the jetty. and so we, the doubting cynical audience think, good things can happen to the untrained voice, the untoned body, lacking in muscular definition. That’s not to say there isn’t still a lot of showbiz gloss and sparkle – it’s just all inherently earthy but with bells on. Ultimately it’s great music and a bit of fun and it was either genius to steal such a blockbuster away from the divas and musical dons queueing up for a part, or sheer foolhardy bravura.
I have decided (at this very late stage in the day), that it was very clever – to fill our screens with the beautiful young and the once beautiful middle aged who lay themselves open to ridicule by performing out of their comfort zone. The majority of shots linger on the old, being joyous, re-living the pain of youth, the mistakes of their past, the passion, the highlights, the loves, parties, adventures, embarrassments… oh you know what I’m talking about: stuff of our lives that hangs about and shapes our futures. The scenic back drops are sensational, it cries out to you! ‘Come here, swim with me, dance with me along this rocky cliff towering above the crystal seas, play like gods on this sacred isle, trip goatlike with me along this fairy lit path’. And the oldies laugh lustily at themselves whilst cavorting and crooning and that’s probably what won me over in the end because they laughed with the integrity of the older and wiser – and we laughed with them (mostly) once I’d put my disbelief and horror aside and taken the cushion out of my mouth.
So there you are, I am converted ‘catalytically’. I might even go and see the show again one day although I fancy it might have more impact on me if I travel to Hong Kong, San Francisco, Manila or Australia or some other far flung clime to do so. http://www.mammamiamusicalticketsonline.com/blog/
Later the same day, I watched the animated version of Fantastic Mr Fox starring the voices of George Clooney and Meryl Streep and directed by Wes Anderson (it’s a Sunday, my family are all ill – what can I say!). It was weird.