Mamma Mia!- Screen Vs Stage

2018.10.18
Mamma Mia!- Screen Vs Stage
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ASH
by ASH
Mamma Mia!- Screen Vs Stage

 Movie Treat 

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When the first Mamma Mia! movie came out, it was a riot. The familiar ABBA songs, Meryl Streep singing and the breath-taking Grecian views. It was a movie you’d put on during the holidays because it puts you in such a good mood. The movie version is pretty much similar to the musical, except that it happens on screen. Then there is the prequel, Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, which entered uncharted territory. While the original story is about Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) trying to find her real father, the prequel throws us back into Donna’s past, where she met Sophie’s father, and two other gentlemen.

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

How did the movies square off with the musical?

Songs

Well, for one, they all used favourite ABBA hits. Songs like Dancing Queen, Money, Money, Money, Lay All Your Love On Me, I Have a Dream and more are both in the movies and the musical.

However, in the musical, there were a staggering 24 songs while the movie versions only have 18 each. Song numbers like The Name of the Game and One of Us that were not featured in the first movie.

Their omission is possibly because they don’t actually add value to the storyline. The songs used in the movie all have a purpose. For instance, when Streep was prancing around singing, Money, Money, Money, it’s pretty clear she is lamenting about her struggling finances.

Some of the songs in the musical which was not in the first movie made an appearance in the second one, such as Knowing You, Knowing Me and Name of the Game. There were a couple of ABBA songs not in the musical but find themselves in the prequel, such as I Wonder and of course, Fernandez, performed by the amazing Cher and Andy Garcia. Cher was so great that the cast had goosebumps when they heard her sing.

Despite not having the full line-up of songs from the musical, the movie versions still work.

The Actors

Hollywood heavyweights were used in the movies. Meryl Streep heads up the Mamma Mia! team, with Pierce Brosnan, Colin Firth and Stellan Skarsgard. Despite none of them having musical or Broadway background, they managed to hold their own in both singing and acting. Seyfried had previously appeared in the movie version of Les Miserables, and that experience, although a stark contrast, may have helped in this. The only actor with Broadway experience is Christine Baranski, who plays one of two of Donna’s best girlfriends. And she pretty much steals the show, the rich, unapologetic cougar who’s on the hunt for a new husband.

While the actors in the movie gave us dramatic performances, their singing falls a little behind their stage counterparts. It’s hard to fault them since singing isn’t quite their day job. The difficult part about their role is to maintain a sense of normalcy when they sing and act at the same time. It might be odd or awkward if badly acted, but the cast managed to make it look like it’s the most natural thing in the world to break out into a song midway through a conversation.

The Sets

Clearly, the movie versions have an edge over the musical. Limited to set designs on a stage, the setting for the musical is kept simple, and moveable. Lighting is heavily relied upon to set the time and mood.

But the sky’s the limit for the movies. With Greece as the backdrop, audiences were in for a visual treat, with spectacular views of the Aegean Sea and the iconic stark white and vibrant blue houses. It’s like bringing a picture postcard to life.

The Costumes

While some of the musical’s costumes are pretty bling, it can’t match the amount of glitter and sequins used in the movie. On stage, the actors are quite far from the audiences, so loud colours work. However, onscreen, where every detail can be scrutinised, the costume department needs to up their ante.

The outfits worn by Streep, Baranski and Julie Walters when they sing Super Troupers are just outlandish.

Beyond their singing costumes, the movies really bring out the Greek and slightly bohemian feel well in the actors’ costumes. On stage, however, everything seemed a bit more conservative. This is understandable, the actors also have limited time to change their costumes, given everything happens in real time!

What is similar with all three are the encore songs. For the first movie and the musical, it ends with Donna and the Dynamos along with Harry, Bill, Sam, Sophie, and Sky sing Dancing Queen and Waterloo. The prequel keeps with the tradition and ends off with an encore performance that brings together the young and old versions of the characters, making it a heck of a party, and an ending with a bang.

Mamma Mia!

 Movie Treat

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