Mamma Mia! – to be precise, 妈妈咪呀 – has been brought to China. The same Abba music but the lyrics are sung in Chinese.
Last night, I took my girls to the 21st Century Theatre in Beijing to see the musical, the first of such blockbuster shows being performed in Chinese. It was staged by a local company, with the help of the creative team that first put on the show.
My girls, May aged 14 and Kirsty aged 12, who are always critical of anything and everything Chinese, found themselves immersed in the performance. They sang along, in English. They didn’t get all the jokes added in for the benefit of the Chinese but enough to enjoy the whole thing. The audience, mostly young Chinese, were equally enthusiastic, though no one was quite dancing in the aisles.
I heard it wasn’t easy to bring the show to China which lacks the experience of staging such commercial musicals. Some singers and technicians were brought in from places like Taiwan. The result is outstanding. The show has been popular among the Chinese ever since it was premiered in Shanghai back in July.
It is particularly taken to by Chinese women, the driving force behind the on-going ‘sexual revolution’ in China. One or two decades ago, it would be hard to imagine that people would like a heroine who has three sexual liaisons with three men at roughly the same time.
I expect to see more pioneering works like 妈妈咪呀 as China is rising economically, politically and culturally. And it is the place where the money is!
This is one of the many joys of living in Beijing – so many top class performances on offer!