Mamma Mia! at The Isabel Bader Theatre
In the midst of a long, biting winter, I found myself whisked away in a mediterranean dream to a time before AirBNB, Cher’s Dancing Queen, and genetic testing. My flights of fancy were made real thanks to a spectacular performance of Mamma Mia! at The Isabel Bader Theatre. Produced by the Victoria College Drama Society and directed by Ronan Mallovy, the cast is brimming with personality and actors who bring the energy of ABBA classics alive.
Mamma Mia! finds Sophie on the day before her wedding. Surrounded by her mother, her friends, and the life she’s always known, Sophie is looking for the one thing that’s been missing her entire life: her father. Unbeknownst to her mother, Donna, Sophie invites the three men she suspects of being her father to her wedding. The arrival of the three fathers forces Donna to confront her past, meanwhile Sophie searches for answers as she faces her future.
The force behind Mamma Mia! Is the chemistry between characters, it’s their shared stories that leaves the audience on the edge of its seat. The impeccable Renae Wolfesberger brought the lightness of Sophie’s character to life. Wolfesberger’s musical talent made Sophie a force to be reckoned with on stage. The grounded performance of Lisean Henry as Donna had the audience roaring and feeling alongside her. Henry owned the role of Donna, breathing even more life into an already iconic character. The leading ladies spearheaded this production towards success, and navigating the complicated waters of family relationships so seamlessly.
The beauty behind this production of Mamma Mia! was that of director Ronan Mallovy’s vision. A good production comes from the hard work of the crew as a whole, from a body of work whose members all play vital roles in bringing a creation to life. Despite moments where lighting, music, or choreography might not have been locked down tight, Mallovy managed to stay true to his goal of creating theatre that is enthusiastic, inclusive, creative, and collaborative. Every single actor brought their uninhibited energy to the stage and owned every moment in their spotlight, proving that sometimes all it takes to create good art is the willingness to be present.