Mamma Mia! captures aesthetic and attention

“Despite the few shortcomings, Mamma Mia! was a fun and entertaining performance”

Shorewood Drama performed their spring musical, Mamma Mia! on May 16, 17 and 18. This marked the end of their 2018-19 season and the final show for many seniors. 

For those unfamiliar with the production, Mamma Mia! tells the story of a girl named Sophie on a Greek island who (for no justifiable reason) is marrying her mediocre boyfriend, Sky. Sophie was raised by her single mother, Donna, but wants her father to be at her wedding, so she sends an invitation to three men who could each possibly be her father.

This particular show was decided as the spring show after a different show, Guys and Dolls, had already been selected and then deemed unsuitable. Though this choice of storyline is not as gravital and indoctrinating as the shows SHS Drama typically puts on, it was still very well done and a fun experience. 

The lead was played by Clara McElfresh, freshman, who portrayed the giddy youth of Sophie well, and also did the songs justice with her voice. The three “super troopers”, Donna (Ashlea Fendyke), Tanya (Zoe Knoernschild) and Rosie (Trinity Higgins) were an entertaining dynamic trio. The other main roles were all also wonderfully done and all the performers had talented vocal ability. Along with great singing, there was some humor, including the typical handful of promiscuous jokes that constitute a high school production, that the actors delivered well. 

The only technical problem was that there were a few microphone blips, but the actors handled it well and it was only detrimental to the show in that the audience missed a few lines. 

The set was very well designed and the taverna setup looked great. It was clear that a lot of effort had gone into it and the strategic use of the set, such as the stairs that many actors used and the windows that the ensemble often popped through, strengthened the overall performance. The colors, aesthetic and use of space were all wonderfully done.

The costumes contributed to the development of each character and the overall fun theme of the play, and the orchestra playing was well done. The tech crew’s work was very impressive, with all the special effects and especially the large pieces of bedroom furniture that descended down from the rafters and then ascended back up multiple times. 

One detail that seemed to be overlooked, however, was the program. The student biographies for those involved in the production contained multiple students who were part of Rent but not Mamma Mia!. Some spring cleaning may be in order for the biographies. 

Another aspect that felt underwhelming was the announcement at the beginning of the the show that promised there would be crowd engagement with opportunities to sing and dance along. It was unclear when these opportunities were supposed to occur; the only time in the performance the audience engaged at the show I went to was a little bit during the finale and bows. 

Overall, despite the few shortcomings, Mamma Mia! was a fun and entertaining performance that appeared to be enjoyable for both the students who put it on and the people in the audience.