Here We Go Again – MAMMA MIA! returns

MAMMA MIA! has once again got Sydney bopping along to ABBA’s greatest hits in its return to the Sydney Lyric Theatre.

Australia’s musical theatre landscape has lately seen a steady season of repeats that possibly have something to do with the non-activity of the pandemic. Not that audiences will be complaining about the return of ABBA’s beloved jukebox musical in this solid revival of the 2017 Aussie production.

Those who have seen the film adaptation will know that the plot is an excuse to roll out well-known ABBA tunes in (very) short succession. There is little time for dialogue or character-building between songs, but that’s not what the audience is here for. Generally, the songs are well-placed to complement the narrative, however thin, or elevate the characters’ inner lives. Still, we aren’t given enough time to digest the very hummable and sing-a-long-able tunes before the next one starts.

For the uninitiated, Sophie (Sarah Krndija) is preparing to get married and invites three of her mother’s former lovers, hoping to discover the identity of her father. However, she doesn’t tell her mother, Donna (Elise McCann), who also doesn’t know who Sophie’s father is. Her discovery of the three potential dads arriving at the hotel she runs is the perfect opportunity to belt out the title song.

The Greek Island setting is brought to life brilliantly by Linda Bewick’s pastel-hued taverna set, awash with bougainvillea, which effectively evokes island exoticism. The set is complemented by Gavan Swift’s lighting design which bathes the stage in sun-kissed colours.

During the high energy numbers, MAMMA MIA! really comes into its own. The excellent ensemble made Voulez-Vous and Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight) a real treat to watch, thanks to Tom Hodgson’s lively choreography.

The cast is wonderfully energetic but sound issues plagued opening night meaning many songs felt flat and failed to elevate or excite in the way they should.

Elise McCann was the show’s star as Donna, whose vocal range sparkled during The Winner Takes It All. Sarah Krndija’s Sophie was an endearing and excitable character but, despite a strong start with I Have A Dream, was occasionally overwhelmed by the ensemble in the big numbers.

Other notable highlights were Martin Crewes as potential dad Sam Carmichael, who gave a special delivery of Knowing Me, Knowing You and Tanya, played by Deone Zanotto, whose comedic ability had audiences laughing out loud in Does Your Mother Know.

While MAMMA MIA! may not have the most substantial storyline, the ABBA score will keep audiences coming back for more, time and time again.


– The other Daniel Craig

Daniel Craig is an international performer and has established himself as a trusted theatre specialist on the Sydney Arts Scene. While he understands the technical side of theatre, Dan writes for the everyday theatregoer (unlike some of those more prominent publications). When not in the audience, he loves to travel the world trying new gin. Follow him on all the socials @talldancraig


MAMMA MIA! runs for 2 hours 30 mins (20-minute interval) and plays at Sydney Lyric Theatre through 30 July 2023. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster.

Disclosure: The Plus Ones were guests of Lucky Star Media.

Image credit: David Hooley and Getty Images James D Morgan.