Watching Mamma Mia in London’s West End

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All my friends know that I am a massive Mamma Mia fan. I grew up with Abba through my father’s extended collection of tapes, even if I was born long after the band split up. I have waited with excitement the release of the first Mamma Mia movie and, to the date, I have seen it probably over 10 times, if not more. The last time was only a month ago, as I was returning from Vietnam, during my 14 hours flight. When the second movie was released, I was the first one to the cinema to watch it. I have travelled to Stockholm and seen the Abba Museum and it’s one of my wishes to attend the Mamma Mia! The Party, an amazing three course dinner experiences which comes to the O2 this autumn.

To me, Mamma Mia inspires happiness and joy. It’s that kind of a movie that makes me feel better, no matter what is happening in my life. When I moved to England and started to go to London very often, it was no brainer than one day I took two of my friends and went to see Mamma Mia, the musical. Did you know that the movie is based on the musical and not the other way around?

I bought my tickets online a couple of months before the show. You should know that even after 19 years, Mamma Mia is still a very popular show, so make sure you book your tickets in advance. I went to an afternoon performance because I didn’t find evening tickets for the day both me and my friends were in London in the same time.

I didn’t really know what to expect, as it was my first musical theatre experience ever. Sure, I have been to the theatre and to the opera before, but none quite compares to a musical.

 

The theatre

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Mamma Mia plays at Novello Theatre, which is located at Aldwych, corner with Catherine street. The closest tube stations are Covent Garden, Temple and Charing Cross. The Novello Theatre, one of the most famous theaters in London, was built in 1905, which makes it 113 years old! It went through a major refurbishment in 2005, when its name also changed, previously being known as the Strand. The name Novello honours Ivor Novello, the popular Welsh composer and actor who lived in a flat above the theatre for 31 years.

 

The show

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Mamma Mia debuted in the West End in 1999, at Prince Edward Theatre. In 2004 the play moved to Prince of Wales Theatre and since 2012 it plays at Novello Theatre. Since then, the play has toured the world, visiting over 50 countries on all 6 continents and being translated into 26 languages. So far, over 60 million people have seen the musical worldwide! In 2008, staring Meryl Streep and Amanda Siegfried, Mamma Mia was launched as a movie on the big screens.

Needless to mention how excited I was on the day of the show. I arrived at the theatre an hour before and collected my ticket. Then I got in and had a pre-theatre drink, in the vintage decorated bar from the first floor. I bought one of the cheapest tickets, so my seat was at the balcony. However, even if quite high, I still had a good view of the stage.

As the lights turned off, the murmur in the theatre stopped. The curtain lifted and there she was, Sophie, kissing the three letters before dropping them off in the post box.

If you don’t know the story, Sophie is Donna’s daughter and she is about to get married with the love if her life, Skye. Her biggest wish is for her father to give her a way to the altar. Unfortunately, she has never met her father. Reading her mother’s diary though, she finds out that she had three different flings with three different boys, about the same time she was conceived. Convinced that she will recognise her father when she will see him, Sophie sends a letter to each of the three men. Surprisingly, they all show up for the wedding and she is more confused than ever when she meets them.

The musical is not only vibrant and exciting, but it also takes Abba fans on a trip to the memory lane. The songs are integrated in the play thoughtfully, making sense in each act. The play is so much fun and even if you are not an Abba fan you will still enjoy the performance. It’s happy, it’s joyful, it’s a play that will leave you with a large smile on your face.

At the end of the show, all the people in the theatre were standing up, dancing and singing together with the actors. The musical was not playing on stage anymore but in the entire theatre, and everyone had been invited to join the “Dancing Queen” party!

 

Have you seen Mamma Mia the Musical in London’s West End? If so, tell me what you thought of it! If now, did I convince you to go watch it?

 

Disclaimer: Please note that this post has been written in collaboration with Encore Tickets. As always, all comments and opinions in this article are my own.  

Some of the links on this website are “affiliate links.” This means that if you click on the link and do a purchase, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost for you. This helps me keep my website running and continue to share my traveling knowledge with you. I thank you for booking your flights or hotels using the links on my website. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers.

Traveler. Dreamer. Cat lover. Wondering around the world with my backpack and my camera. Contributing to make the world a better place.

51 Comments

  1. What an experience! My grandmother loves mamma mia. Not much of a musical person but I want to experience it too when given a chance.

  2. Oh my gosh, I am jealous. My daughter and I would love to do this. We really enjoy the movie. One day we hope to see it on stage!

  3. What a beautiful theater! I love seeing musicals, such a blast. I will be heading to London in May, if it is still on I would love to see it!!

  4. Oh my goodness I bet this was amazing. I have to admit I love the West End it has been many years since I got to go though. The atmosphere alone is always wonderful.

  5. I’ve seen the Mamma Mia movies, and these are my favourite musicals ever! I didn’t know it’s also possible to see something like that on the stage. Hope to have such a chance in the future! 🙂

  6. I love going to the theatre in London however haven’t been for ages. I loved the Mamma Mia movie though.

  7. What a great experience! I am going to Greece soon and I can’t wait to have all the mamma mia feels soon!

  8. Beautiful venue in London. One of my favorite cities. I’ve seen mamma mia the movie. It was so pretty. I imagine you enjoyed a lot the ABBA songs too.

  9. Going for a live-action Mamma Mia has been on my bucket list for the longest time. I’ll definitely be going to one real soon!

  10. I grew up listening to ABBA as well. My mom played their songs all the time so I know them all! I have heard so many wonderful things about Mamma Mia but I haven’t seen it yet! Looks like a great time!

  11. *gasp* Oh my gosh, that sounds like so much fun! I actually didn’t even know that the muscial came first. I can’t get to London, but if this comes anywhere near me, I’m going!!! Also, sidenote, that theater is beautiful.

  12. Wow! What a fab experience. We are going to try and do theatre more this year, it’s been a while since we last went.

  13. Recently I watched Mama Mia, the movie version by Meryl Streep. Oh, I can’t tell you how much I love those songs. I love the happy vibes and I really wanted to see Mama Mia live in the theatre one day. By the way, the waiting hall looks so beautiful and cosy.

  14. I love going to watch shows, especially those in the West End. Mamma Mia is one I have yet to see, but would love to one day. It looks fab

  15. I love watching musicals a lot and admire them so much. I visit such musicals at my place here. But it is nothing like this theater. It is so beautiful 🙂

  16. Such a fun and great experience you had. I don’t have time to watch due to my busy schedule and I am hoping that I would be able to witness this show sooon.

  17. I’ve not seen the Mamma Mia movie nor musicals but I wish to do someday. It looks like you had a fun time at the West End theater.

  18. My London-based cousins have seen this, and they said it was such a great show and a wonderful experience for them. I am envious! 🙂

  19. I am sure you had an absolute badt there. I saw Mamma Mia and Wicked ib London and I was so in awe of the talent on the stage as well as the show itself.

  20. Just the taking in the splendor of theater alone would make for an interesting afternoon, but to add such an amazing musical is simply the icing on the cake. We also have a vibrant theater district where we live and I try to get the family out to shows any chance I get.

  21. I never heard of Mamma Mia shows before, but this looks so interesting and your experience about it makes me want to watch the show too.

  22. This is one of my favorite plays ever! I’ve seen it on broadway once and would love to see it again! Thank you for sharing your experience I enjoyed reading it

  23. I haven’t seen Mama Mia! but I love Abba so I’m sure I will love it! What an experience that must have been in such a lovely theater!

  24. I’d love to see Mamma Mia in the theatre! I’ve seen both films, know all the lyrics (sad!) but love it, it makes me smile so much. I’m definitely more inspired to see it after reading your post.

  25. That Theater is beautiful and huge. I haven’t seen Mama Mia yet but your review has me excited to see it.

  26. Sounds like you had an amazing night! I have only recently watched Mamma Mia 2 and totally loved it, would like to see the stage show next

  27. It’s got that old school theatre feel to it – just like in the movies! The experience (being your first) was worth it then? Thanks for sharing, might have to check it out if we’re ever in town!

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