Mamma Mia

Picture from Mama

Mamma Mia came to the Civics Center in downtown Des Moines Jan. 21. Usually, unless the Lion King or Hamilton comes to the theater, many people don’t talk about the Civics Center that much. Despite this the theater was pretty packed with people, and, thankfully for good reason. This performance of a classic broadway musical was nothing less than a fantastic time.

I must applaud the actors and actresses for giving such a personal and funny take on their characters. At first the overly enthusiastic nature of both the young ones and the adults can seem unnecessary. Yet, halfway through the first act you somehow fall in love with the cheesiness, and start to care about every characters’ struggles and halarious antics. Even if the plot of finding out you have three possible fathers is not exactly relatable to everyone, the actors sell it so well, the comedy and emotion gets through to the whole audience.

It is hard to describe, but this musical has a really good balance between the silly overacting and the serious emotional moments. I can really appreciate a story and actors that know how to do both types of preforming. Like any moments when Sophie’s mom, Donna, gets caught with her past love affairs. It is wonderfully awkward yet heartfelt. The story knows when it needs to have a funny interaction and when it needs to slow down. Which makes for a fun roller coaster of genuine emotions.

The good music is practically a given. No matter if you have seen Mama Mia before or not, I’ll bet you have heard someone reference it as a joke. If you’ve ever heard a person say “It’s a rich man’s world.”, or called you a “dancing queen”, they were most likely referencing Mama Mia. That doesn’t change the fact that the songs are still unique and irreplaceable. With the varying styles and lyrics that capture each scene perfectly, the soundtrack is a must have.

My only criticism would have to be the ending. Not that it was a bad one. The characters learn a good message about how you can’t force love on anyone, and you need to think things through before you make any decisions revolving around love. It just felt a bit rushed to me. So many things are revealed towards the end. I get that they wanted to tie up all the loose ends, but they waited a bit too long. Even then, since the end has such a good message, I guess I’ll let it slide.

Overall I had a great time with Mama Mia. For the wonderful acting and music, I will give the performance a 8.5 out of 10. The show may have left for now, but I hope the next time a show comes to the civics center, more people will go out and give it a shot.