THE stage version of the hit film Mamma Mia! looks like the perfect holiday tonic at the height of the busy tourist season.

The cast at the Brighton Centre have the undoubted advantage of having the crowd on their side from the moment the musical opens after a punchy overture of Abba hits.

The story is charming, if pretty thin, and is engagingly told by the cast, who are helped heaps by the hit tunes liberally peppered among the quips.

The minimalist set, ideal for touring, does its best to re-create the mood of a Greek sunspot only yards from the pebble shores of Brighton beach.

In the lead role spirited Lucy May Barker as bride-to-be Sophie Sheridan takes the crowd along as she bubbles with excitement about her wedding while fretting anxiously about her search for her father.

Of course, after the smash hit film and a West End run of the musical, a lot of the audience will know what’s coming.

All the same, there is something touching about the way Barker transforms her moods.

Some of the solo singing is not especially strong but Helen Hobson, giving the outstanding performance of the show as single mum Donna Sheridan, pulls off a heart-tugging version of The Winner Takes it All and a great treatment of Slipping Through My Fingers that most parents would recognise for its poignancy.

The tale is mostly sweet as a stick of Brighton rock, with the admirable cast handling the occasional bitter-sweet moments with sensitivity.

All the while we know there is a terrific tune lurking round the corner to raise the spirits, whatever trials and tribulations unfold.

If you want to chill out and just a let a show lap over you like a warm Mediterranean sea catch Mamma Mia!