Awesome, amazing, fabulous, brilliant – these are the verdicts of the thousands who filled Blackpool’s Opera House to see Mamma Mia! on its opening nights this weekend.
The West End show’s 12-week stint in the resort is an attempt to put the entertainment town back on the map for top class shows and weekend stays.
It’s also perhaps the perfect feel-good show, featuring pop classics, camp jokes and outlandish outfits, for Blackpool.
Mamma Mia! catapults its audience through the whole gamut of emotions in just over two hours and sends everyone out with a spring in the step and a need to dig out an Abba album.
“It was amazing,” said Diane Cavallo, 51, from Blackburn. It just took me back to being 16 again, the emotions it conjured up. The costumes were fantastic too. It far outstretched the film.”
Hanna Roberts, 45, from Blackpool, watching the show with childhood friends, said: “It was brilliant, really uplifting and feel-good, and a great use of our fabulous theatre.”
Schoolmate Karen Prosper, 45, added: “We have to make the most of a West End show being in Blackpool – it was fabulous.”
The show meant for a special and slightly different birthday celebration for 18-year-old Teresa Banks, visiting from Yorkshire. She said: “You’d normally come to Blackpool for a night on the town but this is a good, different experience.”
The occasion changed many people’s view of the resort too – locals and visitors.
Roy Marchant, 55, bought tickets for wife Cheryl, 51, for Christmas, complete with a weekend trip to the resort from Derbyshire. She said: “We were going to go to London, we didn’t think they did this kind of thing in Blackpool.
“It’s a long time since we’ve been and we’ve had a lovely time, it’s completely changed my view of the place.”
Rikki Lane, 31, from Blackpool, pulled out all the stops, donning her own Dynamos-style Super Trouper outfit for a night out with workmates.
She said: “It’s brilliant to be able to stay in Blackpool for a show. It’s a really nice venue and an amazing show.
“It’s got romance, comedy and all that dancing. 10/10.”
Anna Travis, 21, who travelled over from Leyland for her first live theatre experience, said: “I just wanted lots of singing and dancing.”
These fans were as quick to sing and dance in their seats as performers bursting with enthusiasm on stage were, earning themselves rapturous applause, and leaving the crowd roaring for more in the finale. Mrs Marchant added: “The show was just amazing. I didn’t want it to end.”