“Thank you for the music…” and for the extraordinary evening! I had the absolute pleasure of attending one of the opening night performances of Mamma Mia!
The Musical which was set at an open-air production at Harewood House, a national trust venue in Leeds. The show features an array of many of the most popular ABBA hits, neatly woven into the story that was written by Catherine Johnson in the late 90s. This was one of two spectacular events in Yorkshire I was invited to.
I want to take a quick moment to talk about the venue as the entire evening was orchestrated flawlessly, I knew where I was going at all times, the parking was easy and the set up was magnificent with lots of choices for food and drink as well as easily accessible facilities.
Moving on to what I actually visited for – the show. The curtains (theoretically) lifted and I was almost immediately transferred into the life of Sophie Sheridan, portrayed perfectly by Lucy May Barker, in fact, the entire cast was eccentric, energetic and I loved it. A personal favourite had to be Helen Anker cast as Tanya and her rendition of “Does your mother know”, a performance that had the entire field of viewers in stitches.
Each scene was great for different reasons and it took all my strength not to belt out the words to each song and get up on the stage with them, it’s a dangerous game when the songs are so catchy! The set is deliberately simple as not to take away from the performances which meant less time changing scenes and more opportunities to sing – which is why we were all there!
I think I can speak for all of us when I say ABBA has found a special place in most people’s hearts through every generation due to the upbeat, fun but also ballad-esque tunes in their repertoire. With 25 songs in the Top 40, including 19 Top 10’s and 9 Number 1’s, it’s clear the UK has a bit of a soft spot for the Swedish pop band.
Cut to the final scene. If you don’t find yourself belting out an ABBA worthy performance every time you hear the first four bars of “Dancing Queen” then this show might not be for you, given the story line is purposefully loose and fun with the real stars being the hit songs.
If ABBA is all you dream about then I cannot recommend a viewing enough, it is a show I would definitely like to see again and a huge well done to Catherine Johnson and the incredible actors – a night to remember! Events in Yorkshire don’t get any better.
Ibiza may not have been on my travel list year, but I was lucky enough to experience a little bit of the island at Castle Howard’s Cafe Mambo evening earlier this year, as part of their “Classics At The Castle” event. Cafe Mambo celebrated its 25th year in 2019 and has become one of the, if not the go to place when visiting Ibiza and so it was no surprise tickets were sold out at its first ever event.
The stage was nestled by the lake within the beautiful grounds of Castle Howard with an open-air theatre set up. Given the location, all generations were there to enjoy the music including families, couples and groups of friends, you could either take in the music right in the mix at front of the stage, or it was possible to bring your own chairs, set up and enjoy the music in a more relaxed manner with a slice of pizza.
DJ sets and performances included, Judge Jules, Robin S (Live PA) and the Grammy award-winning Roger Sanchez. Sanchez has played at some of the most famous clubs in Ibiza including Amnesia (another must go to venue if you ever visit Ibiza and want to go to a Super Club) and Pacha and so getting to watch him live was incredible. The performances played everything from “Put Your Back in it” and “Show Me Love” – every song to get you up and dancing!
One of the best parts of the evening was watching seeing the sun go down (as if you were really at Cafe Mambo) and watching the stage go from day to night. An English Summer can mean anything from blazing sunshine to downpour but luckily on this night the skies were blue and the event ended on a warm summer evening.
The venue itself was accessible, lots of space and food stalls to cater to every need – I’m a vegetarian and so sometimes find the only option to be chips but it was great to see more of a selection here. I’d recommend either driving yourself or if there’s a group a minibus service would suit perfectly so you can enjoy a sangria with your classics!
Should the event tour again I would recommend grabbing tickets as soon as they drop given this set was sold out almost instantly! Search “Classics at the Castle” for more unmissable events in Yorkshire.
Words and Review by Amelia Wheatcroft-Brown (@ameliawbrown)