'Mamma Mia! The Musical' has returned to Australian stages, bringing with it that classic ABBA feel and a story filled with love and passion.
The show is made up of ABBA classics like 'Dancing Queen', 'SOS', 'Money, Money, Money' and of course the titular 'Mamma Mia'. When Sophie Sheridan (Sarah Krndija) discovers she has three possible fathers, she doesn't hesitate to invite them all to her wedding, at the taverna run by her mother Donna (Elise McCann).
Madness unfolds when Donna discovers all three of her previous partners have accepted the invitation, and through cuts from the iconic discography of ABBA, colourful sets and vibrant costumes, audiences are treated to a story of love, the meaning of family, and the power of friendship.
Here, we chat to Sarah Krndija who plays Sophie in the show. It's currently playing at Melbourne's Princess Theatre.
This is such a beloved musical – what do you love most about it?
I love how it manages to explore love between family, lost love, unrequited love and new love in such a buoyant and fun way.
And why do you think it has kept audiences coming back time and time again?
The music! That familiar and beloved ABBA catalogue tugs at the nostalgic heart strings. I can’t think of another pop group that has such a varied and deep fan base. They mean a lot to people!
For those unfamiliar. . . Tell us a little bit about your character, Sophie.
Sophie is the headstrong, only child of single mother, Donna. She’s lived her entire life up until now not knowing who her dad is. We meet her on the evening before her wedding, faced with the consequences of inviting three possible ‘dads’. Chaos ensues.
Image © James D Morgan
What has been the biggest challenge in stepping into Sophie’s shoes?
For me, it’s been maintaining spontaneity. Sophie faced so many dilemmas, internally and externally, across the two hours of the show. Making sure I stay awake to discovery and don’t anticipate the sequence of events has been a fun challenge when doing the role eight times a week.
Have you found that you share any qualities with Sophie that you’ve been able to utilise playing the role?
I think we both go for what we want and are clumsy and imperfect while doing it.
What’s your favourite song to perform in the show?
It’s ever-changing! At the moment I’m loving ‘Under Attack’! It was the only song I wasn’t familiar with when I booked the role, so I learnt it without any preconceived ideas of how it should sound. It’s staged as a nightmare sequence with the whole company coming to life as equally quirky and terrifying characters from Sophie’s dreamscape. I sing the whole song from bed (win), and we’ve got the silliest cast of actors you could possibly assemble, so you can imagine how fun it is to watch them go for it every night.
Image © David Hooley
And how about your favourite song/musical number from another character?
I love ‘Knowing Me, Knowing You’. It’s Sam’s beautiful ballad and comes around mid-Act Two. He’s trying to help Sophie understand the weight of a person’s decisions when dealing with love and loss. Our Sam, Martin Crewes, brings the house down with so much ease. I don’t sing with him, I just get the joy of observing next to him, and I’m rarely not moved to tears.
If you could include one more ABBA song in the musical, which would it be and why?
I think they’ve nailed the song list. All the best ones are in there.
'Mamma Mia! The Musical' is now playing at Princess Theatre (Melbourne).