The fictional plot: ex-pat Kate (Steph Parry) worked in the costume department of the Mamma Mia! movie when it was filming on Skopelos in 2007. She fell in love and married entrepreneur Nikos (Fed Zanni), and now together they run an Abba-themed restaurant on the idyllic Greek island.
Mamma Mia! The Party – by Bjorn Ulvaeus, Calle Norlen and Roine Soderlundh – may have a pantomime-like book but it’s witty and engaging, thanks to Sandi Toksvig’s help with script adaptation.
Story aside, this production simply raises the bar for all other immersive dining experiences. The attention to detail is meticulous, from the table settings to the clouds of bougainvillea hanging from every wall.
Bengt Froderberg’s set design places the partygoer in a large, authentic Greek taverna with the action taking place all around. Sound designer Gareth Owen works a minor miracle allowing everything from intimate love scenes to a full-on Waterloo chorus sound crisp and clean throughout. To complement this, Patrick Woodroffe designs a lighting plot that slips seamlessly from starry Mediterranean night to mirrorball pyrotechnics to terrific effect.
It’s not just the belting vocals from Zanni and Parry that fuel this party. The staff are equally engaged, whether they’re serving up a three-course meal or joining in with one of Stacey Haynes and Roine Soderlundh’s choreographed set pieces to the relentless Abba soundtrack.
There is nary a weak link in this latest venture by producer Ulvaeus, and even if the ticket price appears steep there’s value for money at every turn.