Blue Canoe’s 'Voulez-Zoom' brings the magic of Mamma Mia online

Madeleine Smith speaks on the virtual cabaret show’s debut

Madeleine Smith acts with Blue Canoe Productions.
Supplied by Madeleine Smith

Blue Canoe Productions will debut its first virtual cabaret-style show in partnership with its sponsor, Queen’s Musical Theatre, on Saturday.

Voulez-Zoom features hit ABBA songs from both Mamma Mia movies, all spliced together to showcase the voices of the performers.

According to its Facebook event page, the show features performers “from South Africa, New York City, South Carolina, and all across Canada,” and brings together “a cast ranging from 13 to 30 years old.”

In an interview with The Journal, actress Madeleine Smith, ArtSci ’22, described the show and its rehearsal process.

Voulez-Zoom is a cabaret performance, which differs from the more typical musical performances.

 “A musical would be a performance with scenes, and a cabaret is generally just a selection of songs tied together with a theme,” Smith said. “Our theme for this show is Mamma Mia.”

Though there isn’t a definitive cast list matching actors to their character roles, Smith said many performers sing the same part in multiple different songs.

“A lot of songs are actually broken up. The song ‘The Winner Takes It All’ is broken up into four different solos, which opens up a lot of opportunities for singers to be featured without being tied down to a specific character.”

In terms of the rehearsal process, Smith said it was relatively low-commitment, especially because performers were required to send in audio recordings of songs on their own time.

“On Sundays, we would have a Zoom meeting as a large group and sing through the songs with the entire cast,” Smith said. “Throughout the week, we would film audio recordings by ourselves and a lip-syncing video to submit by Saturday.”

The show does not have strict choreography, but movement is inspired by the relaxed, fun-loving themes present in the Mamma Mia films.

“It’s a lot of dancing around and just having fun,” she said. “Some people have committed to costumes and are really going all out for it which should be fun to see.”

Saturday night’s performance will also be the first time cast members are able to see the show in its entirety.

“I haven’t seen anything from the final project, I’ve only seen and recorded my specific songs,” Smith said. “For people doing group songs, they only record their individual parts and send it in, so no one really knows how the rest of the show goes.”

In balancing online school with the production, Smith said having a creative outlet was beneficial for her and did not negatively impact her schoolwork.

“Online school is so exhausting for so many people, and this was social and a really great creative outlet. I also think it was a really efficient and smart way to put together an online production.”

Voulez-Zoom streams for one night only, and the link to the performance can be found on Blue Canoe Productions’ Facebook page.

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