Idaho Shakespeare Festival's Mamma Mia! Is Sold Out, With Good Reason 

At Idaho Shakespeare Festival’s July 3 performance of Mamma Mia!, the fourth out of a 28-show run, Managing Director Mark Hofflund kicked off the musical by announcing that the remaining performances were already sold out. After seeing the production ourselves, we can tell you unequivocally that it’s well worth the hype.

Thanks to a 2008 film adaptation starring Meryl Streep, Pierce Brosnan and Amanda Seyfried, the sequel of which comes out this month—not to mention a 14-year run on Broadway that wrapped in 2015—Mamma Mia!’s upbeat tale of paternal drama set on an idyllic Greek island has already reached a good number of U.S. households. And even if it hadn't, the ABBA songs that inspired it and fill its soundtrack have been stuck in the nation’s collective heads since the ‘70s.

As for ISF’s July 3 interpretation, if ever a performance could be described as a romp, this would be it. From the sparkling throwback costumes leading ladies Jillian Kates, Laura Welsh Berg and Jodi Dominick occasionally donned to the powerhouse vocals and full-cast dances, everything was exuberant and overblown, pulling the audience immediately into the fun and prompting a few to sing along.

Yet even the more rom-com-esque aspects of the show had serious undertones: Donna Sheridan (Kates) regularly questioned her daughter Sophie (Kailey Boyle) about her need to get married so young, bolstering already-present female empowerment themes. Despite the emphasis on romance and fatherhood, it was the mother-daughter relationship—and the tearful dedication with which it was portrayed in the heartstrings-tugging ballad “Slipping Through My Fingers”—that stole the show.
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