On the greek island of Skopelos, otherwise known as the O2 arena in Greenwich, stands a capacious Greek restaurant called Nikos’ Taverna.
A gurgling fountain sits in the centre of the old town square, blue chairs and tables with checkered tablecloths pepper the terraces and balconies, and twinkling fairy lights hang along branches of faux trees next to clusters of bright pink plastic bougainvillea.
Even the ‘weather’ feels holiday-like; the temperature is set at a balmy 24C, just like it would be in the Mediterranean.
This is no ordinary taverna however, this is the setting for Mamma Mia! The Party, an immersive Abba-themed dinner show featuring the hit songs of Swedish supergroup Abba.
It’s a fun-filled, high-octane night out packed full of singing, dancing, acrobatics, a very loose story line, and a lot of audience participation.
Are you ready for the time of your life? Read on to discover what we thought about Mamma Mia! The Party.
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What is Mamma Mia! The Party?
Mamma Mia! The Party is an immersive dinner show created by Abba’s Björn Ulvaeu with music and lyrics by Benny Andersson and Björn Ulvaeus (some songs with Stig Anderson), and a story by Calle Norlén.
Ulvaeu launched the first Mamma Mia! experience in Stockholm and it proved such a hit that he immediately started looking for locations in the UK settling on the O2 in London.
The story was adapted for British audiences by Sandi Toksvig and it first opened in the British capital in 2019. The pandemic forced it to close for a while but it reopened in October 2021 and has been playing to a packed taverna ever since.
This not a recreation of the Mamma Mia movie, rather the story starts after the credits have rolled – you’ll spot mock photographs of the movie stars alongside the cast members including Meryl Streep, pinned along the walls when you enter, a fun attention to detail.
Nikos, welcomes us to his restaurant and introduces his partner Kate. She worked on the Mamma Mia! movies but fell in love and decided to stay on the island of Skopelos (which is where much of the original movies were filmed).
Nikos’ daughter Konstantina is falling in love with Kate’s nephew, Adam who works on the beach bar. Nikos doesn’t approve of the young couple, however, and this love story forms the storyline for the almost four hours of immersive theatre.
Yes, the wafer-thin plot is a little ridiculous but who cares about the storyline when you’ve got a night of non-stop Abba songs?
How does Mamma Mia! The Party work?
The doors to Nikos’ taverna open at 6.30pm with the show starting at 7.30pm. Once you enter you are given a table number and you can make your way to your seat. Tables are placed in the main square, along the terraces and the balconies. Ticket prices depend on where your are seated but because the action takes place throughout the Greek taverna, you really can’t go wrong.
That said, the main square is where the big routines happen (and the Abba disco after the show) so if you want to be a true dancing queen then this is where you want to be.
A four course meal is included in the ticket prices and the food is very good (I’ll be honest, I wasn’t expecting such a tasty dining experience). Tables are laid with wooden boards of olives, tzatziki and taramasalata, and baskets of bread, and cheery waiting staff serve drinks.
A mediterranean meal is served between acts and we enjoyed a very good feta cheese salad for starters, a delicious lamb for main course and an excellent orange cake for dessert.
The acts take place after each course, and increase in volume and energy as the night progresses. The waiting staff break out into set-piece dance routines; the curmudgeonly grandma (my favourite character in the show) takes centre stage, flames burst out of the fountain, and the cast appear in full Abba-heyday white spandex and platforms to belt out the final numbers.
The audience becomes equally more and more animated as the night progresses, clearly having the time of their lives as the hits started rolling.
Altogether the cast perform 35 Abba songs including everything from Super Trouper, Dancing Queen, the Winner Takes It All, and Mamma Mia (so good they sing it twice) to songs that you would only know if you were a massive Abba fan. These include Nina, Pretty Ballerina and When I Kissed the Teacher.
It is an undeniable feel-good immersive show that will have you dancing in the aisles.
Is it a little cheesy? Yes. But does it matter? Not at all.
After the confetti rains down on the final act the dance floor opens and the Abba disco starts, playing Abba (and Abba only) until 11.30pm.
Mamma Mia! The Party with kids
The minimum age for Mamma Mia! The Party is 5 and it’s a really fun, family-friendly thing to do in London with kids. If you plan to go with younger children then the matinee performances are your best choice.
If you’re in London with teens then opt for the evening performance – and don’t forget your dancing shoes for the end of the evening disco.
How much does Mamma Mia! The Party cost?
Prices start from £99 off-peak to £200 for peak time tickets depending on how close to the action you are. The tickets do include a welcome drink (additional drinks are extra), a four-course greek meal, access to the Abba disco after the show and, of course, the live performance itself.
Is it worth the money, money, money? It’s not cheap but it is a unique experience and a lot of fun. If you are a Mamma Mia fan then there’s no doubt you will love this immersive theatrical experience.
Mamma Mia! The Party dress code
Anything goes at Mamma Mia! The Party! Because audience members range from young to old, you’ll find all kinds of outfits. Some people go full Abba in spandex and platforms, others dig out their best sequins and still others dress as they would if going to the pub. Wear whatever you feel comfortable in.
And, if you arrive and feel that your outfits needs a little more pizzazz, there are LED flower garlands and trilby hats available to purchase.
Remember that it’s 24C in Nikos’ taverna so don’t wear your winter woollies!
Getting to Mamma Mia! The Party
Mamma Mia! The Party is held in the O2 London. The closest underground station is North Greenwich on the Jubilee line. If you want to stay overnight in the area take a look at these hotel options. There are parking spaces around the arena as well.