There’s aren’t many bands as successful as ABBA, and especially not 40 years on from when they were topping the charts. With three shows running in London right now, Mamma Mia, Mamma Mia! The Party and Abba Voyage, it begs the question was ABBA’s heyday during the 70s or is it right now?

Mamma Mia! The Party is located inside the O2. The show began in Stockholm in 2016, before coming over to London in 2019. A little space inside this huge arena has been redecorated to resemble a Greek Taverna. As you enter the space you walk past a desk with posters displaying the ferry times to get to the island of Skopelos (the island the movie was filmed on). The moment you enter Nikos Taverna takes your breath away. Bengt Fröderberg’s set design is beautiful and very effective, with olive vines and a fountain in the middle, you are immediately transported to Greece.

As you tuck into a four-course meal, a story is played out around you, not the Mamma Mia storyline some may be expecting, it’s a different plot entirely. If I’m honest the plot is wafer thin, but really, you’re here to party to ABBA’s back catalogue, the show is a bonus. The story is by Calle Norlén, Roine Söderlundh, and Björn Ulvaeus and has been adapted for the UK by Sandi Toksvig. Centering around Kate (Lorraine Chappell), who was working on the Mamma Mia film, and then decided to stay in Skopelos, due to falling in love with local restauranteur Nikos (Javier Rasero). Throughout the show the two of them argue about the blossoming romance between Adam (Luke Friend), a non-island native and Nikos’ daughter Konstantina (Noah Sinigaglia).

Leaving the plot, or lack thereof, aside, the vocal performances are simply stunning. Friend’s voice has a gritty rocky edge to it, which I adored. Sinigaglia’s gorgeous vocals were displayed earlier this year during her time in Broken Wings, and they remain just as breathtaking here. Scarlet Gabriel takes on the role of Debbie, which seems the most fun role in the show and her voice is also as sensational as she is.

There’s a lack of dinner theatre options in London – your only options really are Faulty Towers and The Vaults. And this is the best I’ve been to. You can tell that each course has been carefully curated with influences from Greek cuisine. Everything is delicious, and really elevates the immersive aspects of this experience.

All the songs we know, and love are incorporated into the show, and this is the kind of show where you can sing along with the cast. There are a lot of musical numbers, but there are some tricks in the staging of these, making all the numbers distinct and unique. From aerial acrobatic performances, fire, a blackout and great use of the space by the cast – at times you don’t know where to look as there is so much going on around you!

The elephant in the room, and one I feel I must comment on when writing this review, is the price point. With ticket prices starting at £109. this is quite a pricey experience, but when you consider everything, you’re getting, is it worth it? I think so. With a company of 21, including musicians, plus a four-course meal and welcome drink, the incredible set design that no expense has been spared on, and the fun ABBA disco after the party – it really feels like a hot night out in Greece, without the 4-hour flight, what’s not to love about that?

Mamma Mia! The Party is a visually stunning production, and one of the most fun nights out you can have in London. People of all ages will enjoy this experience, as that’s the beauty of ABBA, they are intergenerational. You can expect beautiful vocals, to be dancing in your seat, delicious food, and a wonderfully fun evening. This is immersive theatre at its best. Escape the cold winter nights by spending the evening dancing the night away in Nikos Taverna. Honey, Honey how it thrilled me!

Rating: 4 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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