REVIEW: Mamma Mia, Sunderland Empire, until November 11

Dancing Queens take to the stage.
Dancing Queens take to the stage.
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People were dancing and jiving and having the time of their lives.

The hit musical Mamma Mia has landed at the Sunderland Empire and fans won't be disappointed.

Christopher Hollis (Bill) and Gillian Hardie (Rosie) in Mamma Mia.

Christopher Hollis (Bill) and Gillian Hardie (Rosie) in Mamma Mia.

A feelgood fest of fun to the top tunes of Abba can never be a bad thing, and it certainly isn't in this box office-busting production.

The story follows the quest of young Sophie, played by Lucy May Barker, to find her dad after being brought up on a Greek island by single mum Donna, played by Helen Hobson.

She finds her mother's old diaries and realises there's not just one possible father, but three, and goes about inviting them to her wedding.

Mayhem and madness follows as all three potential papas, Sam, Bill and Harry, descend on the island and an unsuspecting Donna.

Helen Hobson (Donna) and Lucy May Barker (Sophie) share a specia moment.

Helen Hobson (Donna) and Lucy May Barker (Sophie) share a specia moment.

Although there are a few poignant moments as the characters reflect on times gone by, the show is mostly one big, sing-a-long with songs that just seem to keep on spanning the generations.

Donna's best friends, Rosie, played by Gillian Hardie, and Tanya, with Emma Clifford in the role, also arrive on the island and together the trio steal the show.

Rosie and Bill's rendition of Take A Chance on Me is hilarious and Tanya's sexy, funny version of Does Your Mother know, is equally wonderful.

Hobson is great in the role of Donna, the audience can easily warm to her as a mother facing the reality that her child is fully grown and the changes that brings, at the same time the old love of her life returning after more than 20 years. Her version of The Winner Takes It All is another highlight of the show and Slipping Through My Fingers can always bring a lump to the throat of a parent.

Emma Cifford (Tanya) and Louis Stockil (Pepper).

Emma Cifford (Tanya) and Louis Stockil (Pepper).

The stage setting was a bit bland and I personally enjoyed the second half much more than the first, but in all Mamma Mia is a must for anyone who loves a bit of Abba or just needs their spirits lifting.

And, little spoiler alert, don't leave early or you might just miss the best bit.

To date, Mamma Mia has been seen by more than 60 million people in 50 productions in 16 different languages with the spin-off film becoming the highest worldwide grossing live-action musical film of all time, so don't miss out.

The show is running at Sunderland Empire until November 11. Tickets are available from Ticket Centre on 0844 871 3022 or online at www.ATGtickets.com/Sunderland.