Verdict: Five Stars

MUSICAL fans have started to expect big things from the Theatre Royal's festive show - and this year's Mamma Mia delivered.

With The Commitments and Jersey Boys taking the festive period slot in years gone by, the jukebox musical had big shoes to fill.

And it did just that through creating a show filled with laughter, fun and some of the best pop tunes ever produced.

Mamma Mia is a musical based around the hits of ABBA, quite literally. Key lyrics helped form the story of the show which is about bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan. As she prepares for her wedding day, she sets on a mission to find her real father and after reading her mother's diary she discovers that there is three possible options.

With the story set in the Greek island of Kalokairi, the audience are transported into the heart of a summer holiday and all the fun that goes with it.

This production was packed with a talented cast, who sang the hits of ABBA with ease.

A stand-out star was Emma Clifford as Tanya, the friend of the mother-of-the-bride. Her comedy routine had the audience in stitches and she made the role her own. She commanded the stage despite having a supporting role.

Many of the audience have seen Mamma Mia several times but the cast at the Theatre Royal managed to make us fall in love with the story all over again.

Highlights were their response to the audience heckles including that famous line from Super Trooper, 'When I called you last night from Glasgow'.

Mamma Mia is also the perfect show to celebrate Christmas with loved ones. It fills you with happiness and with hits including Dancing Queen, Honey Honey, Knowing Me, Knowing You and SOS part of the show - how can you not love it?

If you haven't already, it is time to take a chance on Mamma Mia.

The show runs at the Theatre Royal until December 30.