My friend Merrick Wolfe, who served as the Company Manager for the Las Vegas production of Mamma Mia! at the Mandalay Bay for the first year of the production, always thought that the roles of Rosie and Tanya for a film version of the movie should be played by Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders of the British comedy team, French & Saunders. Merrick thought this long before a filmed version of Mamma Mia! was ever set to become a reality.
Well Mamma Mia! The Movie swept the world last year with Julie Walters and Christine Baranski in the roles, but now Merrick has sort of gotten his wish in that, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders, have chosen to do a send up of Mamma Mia! The Movie for the BBC’s annual Red Nose Day fundraiser celebration. They also drafted Jennifer Saunder’s partner in crime from her hit BBC series “Absolutely Fabulous”, Joanna Lumley, and have created a brilliant send up of Mamma Mia! The Movie. Dawn French plays Julie Walters in her role as Rosie, as Merrick had wished so long ago. However his desire to see Jennifer Saunders as Tanya, didn’t quite pan out exactly. Here Jennifer sends up Meryl Streep in the role of Donna, and Joanna Lumley comes in to play Christine Baranski as Tanya.
In pure comedic genius, the send up also brilliantly sends up the behind the scenes aspect of Mamma Mia! as well, with a very comedic poke at Phyllida Lloyd as a first time feature film director. Playful pokes at Producer Judy Craymer and Writer Catherine Johnson also ensue and of course some playful pokes at Choreographer Anthony Van Laast through some amusing naming of the dance steps in the “Dancing Queen” scene as he shouts them out to direct the dancing. I’m personally surprised there wasn’t a send up of Björn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson of ABBA too.
Without detailing too much of the parody, it’s best to just get you to check it out. The parody is broken up into two parts. Now we can all get a little taste of Mamma Mia! the way my friend Merrick had envisioned it.