Mamma Mia – How Can We Forget You?

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If there was a single foot that wasn’t tapping in the main hall, we couldn’t see it.

As the sounds of Mamma Mia filled the hall at Garden International School (GIS) in Ban Chang, Rayong, the audience was up out of their seats and dancing along with the students to the final number. From November 23-25, students staged their version of Mamma Mia, the musical based on the music of Abba.

Vanessa Vanderpoel took on the role of Donna, a middle-aged women whose daughter Sophie is about to get married. Sophie, played by Praw Brander, secretly invites three men to the wedding. This trio all had a fling with Donna 21 years ago, and Sophie now wants her father at her wedding; the only trouble is she doesn’t know which of the men it is.

‘Donna’ and ‘Sam’ perform Mamma Mia.‘Donna’ and ‘Sam’ perform Mamma Mia.

Vanessa was superb as the troubled mum who is looking for love but just doesn’t know it. Helped by Christina Traister and Daniela Escobar as her sidekicks, the three girls took on some of Abba’s biggest hits – and nailed each and every one.

Not only was their singing as powerful as it was pitch-perfect, the choreography added some impressive and often comic touches – best seen in the hilarious Chiquitita.

Some of the stars of Garden’s latest production.Some of the stars of Garden’s latest production.

The three men invited to the wedding were played wonderfully by Rohit Ghosh (Sam), Ben Bartlett (Bill) and Jason Tang (Harry). The show, just like the musical, was peppered with classic Abba tracks, from Dancing Queen and Voulez Vouz to Super Trouper and Does Your Mother Know, the latter performed wonderfully by Christina, aided by a stunning dance troupe. By the end of the show, the audience responded to the students’ obvious enthusiasm by dancing along to Mamma Mia to mark the end of another spectacular success.

Dancing kings from Garden.Dancing kings from Garden.

Many thanks go to the companies who generously agreed to sponsor the show. The gold sponsors were Rosie O’Gradys Pub and Restaurant in Pattaya, Camel Pub and Restaurant in Ban Chang, the Gunn family and Usana Health Sciences. The silver sponsors were U Smile, Indian by Nature, Pala Lagoon Project Land & House, Praw Street Dance and Modeling Studio, PM Valve and Viking Power Systems. And the bronze sponsors were Eastern Star, the Lyubchevskaya family and Khun May’s Restaurant and Cafe.

Thanks also go to the cast, crew, band and choir and to director Ken Lund, assistant director Jenn Blais, producer Ben Liversidge, musical director Paul Shiells, assistant musical director Michelle Peralta, choreographer Hannah Sumalee Inthararat, set designers Andrew Gordon and Jane Vincent, costume designer Martine Morris, additional performance coach Kasia Grisdale, music support from Alan Aquino and catering from Patsy Smith.

DVDs, posters and T-shirts are still on sale at 250 baht each. If you’re interested, email [email protected] The deadline for buying T shirts is December 7. There is no deadline for the other two items.

Students perform Abba’s hit ‘Does Your Mother Know?’Students perform Abba’s hit ‘Does Your Mother Know?’

‘Sophie’ prepares to marry in the musical’s climax.‘Sophie’ prepares to marry in the musical’s climax.

Garden’s singing stars belt out ‘Waterloo’.Garden’s singing stars belt out ‘Waterloo’.