Currently playing Konstantina in MAMMA MIA! The Party we got to speak to Molly Cleere about the show and having Theatre in her blood!
Tell us a bit about the premise of MAMMA MIA! The Party?
MM!TP is an immersive dining experience where guests can enjoy a show whilst also experiencing an authentic Greek atmosphere and food. The experience allows the audience to enjoy their favourite ABBA music whilst the show is happening, as well as allowing them to dance, sing and enjoy with their friends and family.
Is there a strong link between the original MAMMA MIA! stage production/films and MAMMA MIA! The Party?
MM!TP is quite different to the film and original stage musical, so we encourage audience members to come in with no expectations so they can be even more blown away by what they experience. There are various references to the film, and of course many of the same songs as the original musical, however we have created a completely unique experience for audiences to see a new, exciting side to the Mamma Mia! that they know and love!
What do you think audiences might find surprising about MAMMA MIA! The Party?
The audiences are normally quite surprised by how immersive the experience is from the second they walk into the taverna. It can take some individuals a while to grasp that they are in fact on the island of Skopelos and that everyone they meet is a new character. The best way to experience it is to completely immerse yourself into the atmosphere and enjoy yourself.
Do you have opportunities to interact with the audience or improvise on the night?
Yes, our show is hugely based off audience interaction and also with each other. As actors we are always tuned into each other and the audience so that we can adapt and work with the audience instead of against them. During intervals of the performance, the cast will interact with the tables in various roles and make them feel that they are really having dinner on holiday. Sometimes the audience catches us off guard during a scene and it’s up to us to adapt and continue the scene or song. It’s a great skill to develop as actors but also helps maintain the immersive atmosphere for everyone there.
Why do you think people should come along to see MAMMA MIA! The Party?
MM!TP is genuinely such a versatile experience for all ages and groups. It’s amazing for a family with young children, for couples celebrating an anniversary and for huge hen parties. We cater for all parties and they always come out having had an incredible night. The show is a great escape from normal life and promises to always get people on their feet, dancing and having the time of their life! There are so many amazing moments in the show that blow people away, you never get bored as there’s always something drawing your eye from one thing to the next.
What has been your favourite role you have played generally and why?
MM!TP is actually my first professional job since graduating. I started the job as a swing/understudy which was so fun and allowed me to learn various different tracks and roles. However, I have recently moved up to playing Konstantina (Nikos’ daughter) and this role has been incredible to do. I am pushed every day vocally, and love being able to perform such a fun role with an amazing cast.
How did you get into acting, and was there a particular performance you saw that resonated with you?
My family are very musical and I started dancing at the age of 3. My mum is a theatre costume maker so it was always in my blood. Growing up I did a lot of performing and just knew it was what I wanted to do professionally. Funnily enough, the first West End show I ever saw was Mamma Mia!, and I fell in love with the music then. As much as there are so many shows I’d love to do, Mamma Mia! always will hold a special place in my heart as it inspired me to pursue musical theatre properly. It seemed like it was meant to be when I got MM!TP straight out of college.
What is the most rewarding thing about your work?
Getting to meet audience members every night that have their own unique connection to ABBA’s music is such an honour. Everyone has their own story about it whether they’re children watching the film at home, or older people who have grown up with ABBA. My favourite moments are when we get children up dancing and they seem so genuinely fascinated by the cast and show, it feels like you could’ve inspired even just one child and that is amazing. On the tougher days when you’re tired, these moments make everything so worth it.
Who are your influences and inspirations?
Growing up I was absolutely fascinated by so many amazing performers, I grew up with my grandma telling me about Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and I was lucky to be taught about such influential performers early on. I was lucky enough to work with so many amazing artists growing up and as I got older I was influenced by so many people who had simply worked hard and got to where I wanted to be one day. My main inspiration and reason to keep going has always been my Mum; she always ensured that I pursued my creative side and supported me through every single show I did. She is such a strong, determined woman herself so I have her to thank for that.
Is there a role you would love to play in a show?
Now that I have played Konstantina, it would be amazing to play Sophie in the musical one day. There are so many shows and roles I’d love to do, but ultimately as long as I am doing the job I love every night I will be happy.
Where can people follow your work on social media?
My Instagram is: @mollysophiacleere
See Molly in MAMMA MIA! The Party at The O2 Arena.