A f-ABBA-lous look behind the scenes of musical Mamma Mia in Milton Keynes

'It is all designed so beautifully, and the wedding clothes are all reds and pinks,' our host points out, as she sweeps past a rail of beautiful costumes, 'Gorgeous, isn't it?'

Nikki Davis Jones is the resident director with Mamma Mia! which has been pulling sell-out audiences on to their feet at Milton Keynes Theatre for the past week.

Nikki has a 12-year history with the show – she previously starred in the stage version, and even appeared in the movie. She is hooked.

“I just love it, it’s such a feelgood show,” she said.

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“They always cast brilliant people too, so it’s always fun.

Nikki has plenty pedigree – her CV includes stints as Elphaba in Wicked and Maureen in Rent.

“Being a resident director is a whole new role for me, rehearsing the understudies and keeping the show in tippedy-top prime.

“It’s really cool to flip things round and be on the other side.”

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The enchanting tale of family and friendship unfolding on a Greek island paradise sown together with a musical flow of ABBA smash-hits is an alluring proposition for theatre fans.

But while all is serene backstage at 1pm (clothing is being ironed by the wardrobe department and the props lie discarded), there are glimpses of the glamour that will follow when the curtain rises this evening.

Not least with the costumes of Donna and the Dynamos. The sparkle is entirely intentional: “Half of the crystals are Swarovski,” Nikki explained, releasing Donna’s outfit from its suit bag.

“When I worked in wardrobe in London, I sewed one of these by hand, and had bleeding fingers.”

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The sparkling outfits and props galore is one thing, but talcum powder and gravy browning?

The former helps prevent sweaty tootsies, while the latter turns water into wine.

Or so the audience members would believe.

Mamma Mia! continues at Milton Keynes Theatre until May 20.

> To book tickets visit www.atgtickets.com/miltonkeynes