Sunday, 21 August 2011

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Mamma Mia in Vancouver

I think I've discovered another one of my (many) shortcomings as a parent.  We're in Vancouver tonight, taking the kids to see Mamma Mia at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre.  Nothing wrong with that.  In fact it almost seems like a responsible thing to do...exposing your kids to live theatre.  No, the actual problem didn't become obvious until about half way through the first act, but once I noticed it I spent the rest of the evening trying to figure out how this happened...My kids didn't know any of the words.

OK perhaps it's not a major parenting shortfall, and besides, it's all fixed now.  Two and a half hours straight of catchy pop songs is enough to leave a permanent imprint of a band on anyone's mind.  So now that they are armed with knowledge of the greatness that is ABBA, how did they like the show?  Meh...

In their defense, it wasn't the greatest version of Mamma Mia that I've seen either.  This is the fourth time that I've seen the play performed, and this would be probably be my least favorite cast.  They weren't terrible, but they just didn't have a real charisma, and they seemed almost a bit mechanical.  I guess my kids have been to enough shows now to be able to decide for themselves if they like a show or not.  This one wasn't panned, but it wasn't the focus of conversation afterwards either. 

The end of the Blue Man Group in Las Vegas
While I was prodding for a reaction on the drive home after the show, we got to talking about other plays that the kids had seen.  I asked them for their favorites of the Broadway shows that they have been to.  Both of the girls chose the Blue Man Group as their favorite, with one putting Mary Poppins in second place and the other selecting Aladdin as the runner up.  The boy couldn't choose his favorite, so he co-selected Blue Man Group and Wicked.  No votes for Mamma Mia, which seems like almost exactly the right call.  Guess my kids are ready to be theatre critics.

No votes for The Lion King??
Lest I make it seem like the night was a disaster, we did all have a fun night out.  Mamma Mia is a very light, fluffy musical that really lightly brushes over almost anything that could be considered controversial.  It had lots of laughs, but I do question whether or not it's truly kid friendly.  At one point during the show, Sophie was reading from her mother's diary, and had just read out "We danced on the beach, kissed on the beach, and dot, dot, dot."  A few seconds later I got a text from my youngest daughter (who was only two seats down from me) wanting to know if "Dot, Dot, Dot, meant sex, sex, sex?"  I gave my response some careful thought, then texted back "Ask your mother!"

The kids at Wicked in San Francisco